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Universalism without UniformityExplorations in Mind and Culture$
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Julia L. Cassaniti and Usha Menon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226501543

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226501710.001.0001

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Unsettling Basic States: New Directions in the Cross-Cultural Study of Emotion

Unsettling Basic States: New Directions in the Cross-Cultural Study of Emotion

(p.101) Six Unsettling Basic States: New Directions in the Cross-Cultural Study of Emotion
Universalism without Uniformity

Julia L. Cassaniti

University of Chicago Press

There may not be basic emotional states uniformly experienced across time and space. Nevertheless, we can systematically make sense of a universal human capacity for feelings, and a potential to recognize them in each other, through an interdisciplinary perspective on componential qualities of emotional experience. In this essay Julia Cassaniti draws out such a cultural psychology approach to the study of emotional universality, highlighting a Thai Buddhist theory of emotionality based on an interpretive scheme of cultural meanings tied to a local moral causal ontology, and showing how this scheme makes sense of emotionality not at the level of discrete emotions but through locally elaborated dimensions, or components. Using a case example of the affective response to a flooded house in Northern Thailand, she argues that such a perspective allows for the study of similarity without claiming cross-cultural uniformity of emotions as natural kinds.

Keywords:   affect, emotion, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Buddhism, cultural psychology, psychological anthropology, cross-cultural psychology, ekman

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