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Sociology 3308: Sociology of Emotions - page 2 / 6

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customary channels. Of course, following Cannon’s 1929 experimental work refuting James’ theory (by separating dogs’ viscera from their central nervous system, and finding that they still reacted emotionally), psychologists began looking more at cognitive factors.

This leads to Hochschild’s second category. She contrasts the organismic approach with what she calls the “interactional model.” For theorists taking this more flexible approach, social factors enter in not only to elicit feeling, but do so in other ways as well. Social factors enter not simply before and after but interactively during the experience of emotion (e.g. in its very formulation, codification, management and expression). There are more points of social entry, but biological factors are still included as socially shaped "ingredients" in this process. Because of its greater complexity, the interactional model poses a choice between models of how social factors work (e.g. Mead/ Gerth and Mills’ focus on interaction/ gesture/ experience in a social context; Goffman’s focus on displaying the socially appropriate feeling). While these earlier interactional approaches have their good points, Goffman’s, for example, focuses too much on the surface level, and doesn’t emphasize a self with a developed inner life. Hence his language is riddled with passives, and too much primacy is given to the situation; too little to the person. In his view, the social system affects our behavior, not our feelings.

Finally, Hochschild discusses the social constructionist model of emotion, where biology doesn't enter into emotion as a causative force at all. Feeling is considered entirely constituted by social influences (e.g. Gordon’s early work took this approach with regard to sentiments such as nostalgia and sympathy).

Hochschild argues that "probably some of the emotions, some of the time, fit the organismic model, and some of the emotions, some of the time, fit the social constructionist, but in my view most emotions, most of the time, fit the interactional model."

Hochschild’s Interactional Model:

Hochschild next moves on to outline her own conception of the interactionist model. She begins by outlining her definition of emotion. She defines emotion as an awareness of four elements that we usually experience at the same time: (a) appraisals of a situation; (b) changes in bodily sensations; (c) the free or inhibited display of expressive gestures; and (d) a cultural label applied to specific constellations of the first three elements. We learn how to appraise, to display, and to label emotion, even as we learn how to link the results of each to that of the other. (Note: Hochschild also defines a "feeling" as "an emotion with less marked bodily sensation," or "a milder emotion").

Significantly, Hochschild also speaks of the signal function of emotion in this regard. In her words:

"Emotion functions like a sense. Indeed, it is a sense, and our most precious one. It is part of our sentient nature. We feel just as we hear, or see, or touch. Like these other senses, emotion communicates information to the self...(it) has a

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