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

Experiencing Emotions: The Lived Body

Experiencing emotions: The lived body

We are in the world through our body … the body is a natural self and, as it were, the subject of perception.

(Merleau-Ponty 1992/[1962]: 206)

Emotion is the human reality assuming itself and ‘emotionally directing’ itself towards the world.

(Sartre 1971/[1939]: 25)

If the limitations of biological or social constructionist approaches suggest the need for some other way forward, this still leaves open the question of how precisely we are to proceed. Some preliminary answers to this question, as we saw, were offered toward the end of the last chapter through the work of Elias and Turner. In this chapter we take a slightly different tack, focusing instead on those philosophical and sociological perspectives which take as their problematic ...

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