The emotions have traditionally been marginalized in mainstream social theory. This book demonstrates the problems that this has caused and charts the resurgence of emotions in social theory today. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, both classical and contemporary, Simon Williams treats the emotions as a universal feature of human life and our embodied relationship to the world. He reflects and comments upon the turn towards the body and intimacy in social theory, and explains what is important in current thinking about emotions. In his doing so, readers are provided with a critical assessment of various positions within the field, including the strengths and weaknesses of poststructuralism and postmodernism for examinin
Chapter 3: Biology versus Society?
Biology versus Society?
A crucial question underpinning much of the discussion so far has been what precisely emotions are. In this chapter we take a closer look at this issue through two very different approaches in which the biological and the socially constructed dimensions of emotion are prioritized respectively to the detriment of the other. Both viewpoints are critically discussed before proceeding, in the final section of the chapter, to consider two further promising sociological approaches to these issues in the work of Norbert Elias and Jonathan Turner respectively. This in turn paves the way, in the following chapter, for a more thorough emphasis on the embodied nature of emotions conceived in intersubjective, intercoporeal terms: an approach which puts minds back into bodies, ...