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Neue Publikation: Why functionalist accounts of emotion tend to be tenuous in social and cultural contexts

Christian von Scheve

News vom 02.08.2022

in: Cognition and Emotion, 36(3), 406-410 | 2022 |  DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2022.2047010


The present contribution provides some constructive criticism of Keltner’s and colleagues proposal for advancing the Social Functionalist Theory of emotion. I first briefly summarise some of the key premises of Social Functionalist Theory and then provide more detailed comments on the four key principles of the theory concerning emotional experience, cognition, expression, and the cultural archiving of emotion. I develop the argument that the link between emotions and the six relational needs (security, commitment, status, trust, fairness, and belongingness) emphasised by Keltner and colleagues are likely to differ across cultural and historical contexts. Moreover, I suggest that practices and representations of emotion are neither consistent nor uniform. Instead, they are frequently tied to strategic attempts at manufacturing relational emotions for political purposes. Third, I argue that whether emotions are functional for the social and cultural world is a matter of perspective. [Read more]

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