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This subject explores the role of emotions in society and introduces students to key ideas in the sociology of emotions. While emotions are often assumed to be personal or psychological, the way we feel is shaped by the structural settings and collective atmospheres that surround us. Elections, public health, consumer confidence, birth-rates, sporting wins, and many other social measures, can all rest on fluctuations in how people feel. The first half of the course sets up a lens for thinking about emotions sociologically, with close readings of both contemporary and classical theories. The second half of the course focuses on the social dimensions of specific emotions, such as love, shame, pride, paranoia, anger, and ambivalence, and explores how they inform diverse aspects of social life.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- Develop a background in sociology of emotions on which to base further research and study in the area
- Gain experience of thinking structurally about important social problems
- Have practice conducting research, speaking articulately, writing clearly and reading with attention to detail
- Work with methods of sociological analysis, leading to improved general critical and analytical skills
- Develop an understanding of the key ideas and debates concerning the role of emotions in society
- Gain an awareness of the selected disciplinary and theoretical traditions, through which these ideas have been generated.
Students who successfully complete this subject should:
- Develop skills in written and oral communication
- Conduct independent research
- Make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument
- Form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.
Last updated: 31 January 2024