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Circulations of Affect in Global Politics

Circulations of Affect in Global Politics

(p.15) One Circulations of Affect in Global Politics
Mixed Emotions
Andrew A. G. Ross
University of Chicago Press

This chapter reconceptualizes emotions as social phenomena, explaining how affect circulates through individual bodies in the context of social interaction. This work draws from microsociological theories to show that emotions are not just psychological feeling-states but also expressive social displays and contagious transmissions. The chapter also taps neuroscientific research revealing that the brain generates emotions through a process of simulation and that many emotions occur when one person mirrors the affective displays of others. The result is emotional contagion: the unconscious and un-intentional transmission of emotion through a process of social display and imitation. Since emotions are connective tissues bringing individuals together in social collectivities, the autonomous individual no longer occupies a privileged role in social agency. The chapter shows that these socially generated emotions become key elements underpinning many of the social constructs— such as beliefs, norms, identities, and symbols— already familiar to scholars of global politics.

Keywords:   Emotion, Affect, Emotional contagion, Circulations of affect, Mirror neurons, Simulation, Randall Collins, Rhythmic entrainment, Mass media, Levels of analysis

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