Chapter 3 Textbook

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16 Feb 2011

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Chapter 3: Cultural Understandings of Emotions
The difference between people on Ifaluk and our own
The construction of emotions in the West
Distrust of emotions
oPlato (375 BCE) thought emotions arise from the lower part of the mind and pervert
oDarwin (1872) implied that in human adults, expressions of emotions are obsolete,
vestiges of our evolution from the beasts and of our development from infancy
We in the West think that emotions are very guarantee of authenticity, our best guide to
our true selves
Romanticism: emotions came to be valued in personal life, in politics, in literature, and
in philosophy
oThe Romantics were fascinated by the natural; wild scenery, previously thought
barbarous, began to be valued
oWriting itself became a way of discovering inner emotional truths
oEmotion, experienced and accepted, became an ideal to be cultivated
Mary Shelley Frankenstein, one of the worlds first science fiction stories
oWhere many themes of Romanticism are present
In the Romantic movement, we see core beliefs about human nature, and about emotions
as original, primordial, authentic causes of behavior, that are alive today
The elements of a cultural approach to emotion
Values, concepts, and ideas about the self, as expressed in art forms, rituals, social
practices and institutions, shape how members of particular societies experience emotion,
and that these matters are not universal
A cultural approach involves the assumption that emotions are constructed primarily by
the processes of culture
Second assumption is that emotions can be thought of as roles that people fulfill to play
out culture-specific identities and relationships
othe emotion falling in love accomplishes a transition, from one structure of social
relationships to another
Batja Mesquita contends that cultural approaches focus on the practice of emotion, n
contrast to the potential for emotion
oPotential means asking whether people of different cultures, if put in an
appropriate experimental situation, would be capable of showing certain universal
emotional responses in terms of experience, expression, and physiology
oPractice refers to what actually happens in peoples emotional lives
The self-construal approach: independent and interdependent selves
The Declaration of Independence prioritized the rights and freedoms of the individual, and
it protected the individual from having those rights and liberties infringed by others
Confucious emphasized the importance of knowing ones place in society, of honoring
traditions and roles, and of thinking of others before the self
Two kinds of self-construal:
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