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Sociology 3308: Sociology of Emotions - page 6 / 6





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he or she becomes angry (e.g. "the last straw"). There are different kinds of emotion lines here, for example, jealousy lines, love lines, sadness lines - notions of how much it would take of certain provocative events to inspire just how much "appropriate" feeling. Hochschild argues that societies and subcultures, families and individuals vary in their ideal emotion lines.

Hochschild notes that if we don't apply feeling rules to ourselves, others may gently remind us of them. They may express concern for us so as to signal what expression of ours seems inappropriate. If we seem "off" in our feeling, they may express surprise and puzzlement. Or, if we don't seem to feel enough, they may give us permission to feel more. Conversely, Hochschild asserts that we may also become aware of feeling rules when we or others have feelings that are "wrong."

In the end, both the content of feeling rules and the seriousness with which they are taken probably vary from one social group to another, and are integral to emotional culture. Some cultures may exert more control on the outer surface of behavior, allowing freedom to actual feelings underneath. Such cultures may focus on the expression rules that govern surface acting. Other cultures may exert relatively more social control on the inner emotional experience, focusing on the feeling rules that govern deep acting.

"Thus, the study of emotion leads us, on the one hand, from emotions to emotion management, emotion rules, and emotional culture. On the other hand, it leads us to the social structures that pin a person into his or her immediate social world, and to the influences of that social world, which evokes the emotions a person feels."

In the next class, we will focus in more squarely on Hochschild’s emotion management perspective as applied to gender issues in the family.


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