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Lecture 10

SOCY 273 Lecture 10: SOCY 273 – WEEK 10 - The Sociology of Emotions and Relationships

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SOCY 273
Lisa Carver

SOCY 273 – WEEK 10 The Sociology of Emotions and Relationships Society and Emotions - We tend to think of our emotions as things over which we have little control - Sociologists study the social conditions affect the development display and interpretations of emotions - The cybernetic approach focuses on how social conditions shape our emotions act to maintain social structures Constructing & Defining Emotions and Relationships - One of the earliest sociological writing about emotions comes from Charles Horton Cooley who defined sentiment as a feeling that has been given meaning by society - In short sentiments give meaning to stimuli occurring in the body - Under most social conditions we follow the rules and react appropriately we are not limited by society we can exercise agency in most situations - Peggy Thoits treats emotions and sentiment as distinct and argues that emotions have four dimensions: o Situational cues: tell us when an emotion is appropriate in a given social situation (ultimately producing changes in our body) o Physiological changes: changes in our body that reflect the situation o Expressive gestures: usually associated with an emotion that goes with a label (being given a present uses that as a cue to stimulate excitement) o Emotion labels o Edgework: thrill seeking behaviour designed to induce emotion - All of the conditions do not have to occur simultaneously for an emotion to exist or be recognized by another person - A number of other terms are associated with the concept of emotion: o Affect: the evaluative component of an emotion whether good or bad o Mood: refers to more diffuse emotional states that last a relatively long time o Feelings: may be referred to as internal states associated with a particular emotion - These terms help elaborate the different ways that people experience emotions - Kemper argues that emotions occur on two levels: o Primary emotions: refer to physiologically grounded emotions that we inherit through evolutionary processes, including anger, fear, or sadness o Secondary emotions: (social emotions) refer to attaching varying meanings to primary emotions (similar to sentiments) o Moral emotions: those emotions that compel us to follow the rules of society Emotions as Instinct - Are emotions based on instinct or developed? - From a social constructionist POV even the most basic emotions are learned through social interaction from our primary agents of socialization and then to larger society - We learn what objects and situations to fear and what not to - Different cultures have different emotions/norms Emotional Discrimination - We can distinguish between primary and secondary emotions by asking the question, would I apply this to an animal? - Emotional discrimination occurs when we attribute secondary emotions to our in- groups and not to our out-groups Socialization of Emotions - The primary meaning of emotions come from primary agents of socialization - We use emotions to communicate in day to day life - Emotional scripts: expectations, when and how to display certain emotions - Emotional cues: give us info about what and when emotions are appropriate in any given setting Emotions to Relationships - Proximity: physical location, we tend to be interested in people we have access and regular interaction with - Similarity or Homophily: tendency to be attracted to people like us - Physical attractiveness: - Reciprocal liking: Power Status Approach - Power and status are the most important structural determinants to our emotional lives - Feeling rules: how we should feel in different social situations - Feeling rules that conflict with peoples actual feelings create a strain - Socioemotional economy, a system for regulating rules and resources Sympathy - Don’t make false claims to sympathy - Don’t claim too much sympathy - Claim some sympathy - Reciprocate to others for the gift of sympathy Emotion Culture - The way people express grief - The intensity and duration of grief in a society depends on the following o How much relationships are invested in significance o The mortality rates of the group o To what degree feelings are controlled o To what degree individuals are physically isolated from each other Community and Relationships - Gemeinschaft: societies that are based on family and kinship - Gesellschaft: societies based on self interest - McDonaldization: the process of hyper rationality of the service workforce, applying the assembly line techniques to interpersonal work Feelings and Social Exchange - The affect theory of social exchange: proposes that exchange relationships produce emotions that are used as an internal source of rewards and punishments - Liking: intimacy only - Three basic components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment Justice and Emotions - Exchange processes may affect emotions in two ways (fairness) o Distributive justice: beliefs about the fairness of what people get in an interaction
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