Emotions in late modernity



Publication Details

Patulny, R. & Olson, R. (2019). Emotions in late modernity. In R. Patulny, A. Bellocchi, R. Olson, S. Khorana, J. McKenzie & M. Peterie (Eds.), Emotions in late modernity (pp. 8-24). Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Emotions-in-Late-Modernity/Patulny-Bellocchi-Olson-Khorana-McKenzie-Peterie/p/book/9780815354321

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The purpose of this chapter is to identify the unique characteristics of emotional experiences in the present, contemporary period, which has been described by Anthony Giddens (1991) as the late modern era. This is an imperfect label; it captures a time period with multiple alternative titles (liquid modernity, post-modernity, post-industrial society etc.), potentially porous boundaries and no definitive date separating it from the previous, modern period. We acknowledge that the flow of history is often divided artificially and retrospectively into any number of schisms. However, we also recognise that history can cohere into identifiably stable periods, characterised not just by unique social, economic and cultural conditions, but also by observably different codes of emotional conduct and expectation. Compare 'cheerfully informal yet professional' twenty-first-century office workers with angry, striking, nineteenth-century industrial factory workers and fourteenth-century medieval peasants shamelessly relieving themselves in the street. Historian William Reddy (2001) would describe such phenomena as indicative of emotional regimes: social codes for allowable emotional expressions and repression in a particular historical space. We argue that the late modern era is characterised by a unique emotional regime, with emotional dynamics that differ substantially from prior periods

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