Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Emotions in History – Lost and Found

Emotions in History – Lost and Found

Ute Frevert
Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 261
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Emotions in History – Lost and Found
    Book Description:

    Coming to terms with emotions and how they influence human behaviour, seems to be of the utmost importance to societies that are obsessed with everything “neuro.” On the other hand, emotions have become an object of constant individual and social manipulation since “emotional intelligence” emerged as a buzzword of our times. Reflecting on this burgeoning interest in human emotions makes one think of how this interest developed and what fuelled it. From a historian’s point of view, it can be traced back to classical antiquity. But it has undergone shifts and changes which can in turn shed light on social concepts of the self and its relation to other human beings (and nature). The volume focuses on the historicity of emotions and explores the processes that brought them to the fore of public interest and debate.

    eISBN: 978-615-5225-03-1
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. 1-2)
  5. The historical economy of emotions: Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    On September 16, 2010, Nicolas Sarkozy let off steam. Hitting back at the European Commissioner for Justice and Fundamental Rights who had sharply reprimanded the French government for the campaigns against illegal Roma camps, he did not care to hold back his anger. “I am the president of France and I cannot allow my country to be insulted,” he declared at the Brussels summit. Viviane Reding’s comments had been “deeply, deeply hurtful” not only to the French government, but also to his “fellow citizens.” He considered them an outright “humiliation” and called them “outrageous,” “disgusting” and “shameful.”¹

    What had happened,...

  6. Chapter 1 Losing emotions
    (pp. 19-85)

    There are many ways in which emotions get lost. An individual can lose them as a direct result of a traumatic incident. Some of us might know someone who has undergone successful brain surgery. The tumour is gone, everybody is happy, except for the patient who can no longer experience happiness or sadness. Instead they start behaving in a strange and bewildering way. They have no empathy. They cannot relate to those who used to be very close to them before surgery. They do not even seem to care much about themselves.

    Neuroscientists like Hanna Damasio and Antonio Damasio write...

  7. Chapter 2 Gendering emotions
    (pp. 87-147)

    Emotions, whether lost or retrieved, come in socially specific and culturally diverse forms. Honour, for instance, was an emotional disposition deeply ingrained in nineteenth-century European society, and yet, it took multiple shapes and translated into different practices. The latter varied according to social class, age, religion, and national belonging. Most conspicuously, they varied according to gender. Although honour was relevant to both men and women, its manifestations and meaning differed vastly. For women, honour was exclusively linked to their sex and sexual behaviour. For men, it was more socially complex and could be attacked by a wide range of offenses,...

  8. Chapter 3 Finding emotions
    (pp. 149-204)

    When reflecting on gender and emotions, finally and inevitably, empathy comes into mind. Women, as nineteenth and early twentieth-century authors seemed to believe, were particularly well equipped to feel what others felt. Their nature, the argument went, allowed them to be more “compassionate and benevolent” than men who often appeared “harsh and cold-hearted,” more interested in their own wellbeing than that of others. Women’s delicate bones, nerves, and blood vessels enabled them to sympathise with fellow beings, and closely attend to their weal and woe. In contrast, men were more capable of taking care of general issues and developing a...

  9. Emotions lost and found: Conclusions and perspectives
    (pp. 205-219)

    We have come to the end of our intellectual journey. It took us from the French president’s anger to global empathy; it fathomed women’s rage and allowed us to question men’s cold blood; it introduced us to honour cultures and examined practices of social shaming. With regard to time, we travelled from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, in some cases going even further back in time. Geographically, the journey started in the midst of Europe, in Brussels, from where we set off in different directions: mainly to France, Great Britain, and the German-speaking countries. On our way, we encountered...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 221-252)
  11. Index of names
    (pp. 253-255)