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Chapter 3

Chapter 3. Cultural Understandings of Emotions

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Gerald Cupchik

Chapter 3. Cultural Understandings of Emotions Thursday, February 03, 2011 10:39 PM In the West, we have both distrust and appreciation towards emotion. Romanticism: period that started around 1750 in Europe, in which primacy of the natural and of the emotions was stressed, as compared with the artificial and with the dictates of convention. { Where we derive our appreciation for emotion. { Romanticists are fascinated by the natural. Wild scenery, previously thought barbarous, began to be valued. The theme of the chapter is the 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 nature. { Second assumption is that emotions can be thought of as roles that people fulfill to play out culture-specific identities and relationships. { Mesquita contends that cultural approaches contend on the "practice" of emotion, in contrast to the "potential" for emotion. | Potential 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. | Practice refers to what actually happens in people's emotional lives (they do differ from one culture to the next). { Self-construal: | Independent self construal or individualism, the self is autonomous and separate from others. ƒ Assert one's uniqueness and independence, to define self according to unique traits and preferences. ƒ Focuses on internal causes, such as one's own dispositions or preferences which are thought to be stable over time and social context. | Interdependent self construal or collectivist, the self is fundamentally connected with other people. ƒ Imperative is to find one's status, identity and roles within the community. ƒ Emphasis on social context and situational influences on behaviour, where one is ever- changing, shifting, and shaped by different contexts, relationships, and roles. { Values: the broad principles that govern our social behaviour. { Elicitors: event that starts some emotion, or some ac
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