The Sociology of Emotions: Basic Theoretical Arguments

Jonathan H. Turner.

In this article,  the basic sociological approaches to theorizing human emotions are reviewed. In  broad strokes, theorizing can be grouped into several schools of thought: evolutionary, symbolic interactionist, symbolic interactionist with  psychoanalytic elements, interaction ritual, power and status, stratification,  and exchange. All of these approaches to theorizing emotions have generated  useful insights into the dynamics of emotions. There remain, however,  unresolved issues in sociological approaches to emotions, including: the nature  of emotions, the degree to which emotions are hard-wired neurological or  socially constructed, the relevance of analyzing the biology and evolution of  emotions, the relationship between cognition and emotions, the number of  distinctive emotional states produced by humans, and the relationship between emotions and rationality.