The Sociology of Emotions

All social relations involve emotional responses, from the simplest face-to-face encounter through the mobilization of social movements to the commitments that individuals develop for culture and society. The social world is thus dependent upon the arousal of emotions, and equally significant conflict and change in societies is ultimately driven by emotional arousal. Thus, it is important to understand how human emotions influence, and are influenced by, the social world. This understanding takes us into the sociology of emotions that has emerged as a distinct area of inquiry over the last thirty years.

• A review of the theoretical approaches that have emerged within the sociology of emotions over the last thirty years • Illustrations of empirical research that has been conducted using each theoretical perspective • Notes on how variously sociological and psychological approaches interface


1. Conceptualizing emotions sociologically; 2. Dramaturgical and cultural theorizing on emotions; 3. Ritual theorizing on emotions; 4. Symbolic interactionist theorizing on emotions; 5. Symbolic interactionist theorizing on emotions with psychoanalytic elements; 6. Exchange theorizing on emotions; 7. Structural theorizing on emotions; 8. Evolutionary theorizing on emotions; 9. Prospects for a sociology of emotions.