Saturday, Feb 3, 2024, 11:00 AM

Christian von Scheve


Putting Emotions to the Test: On the Contentiousness of Emotions in Social Conflicts

Contemporary social life is filled with conflicts and upheavals that call into question how we travel and work, what we eat, and the levels of security and prosper-ity we experience. In my talk, I argue that the crises of the present also challenge and question something that we usually perceive as very individual and personal—and therefore socially inaccessible: our feelings and emotions. In sociological research, emotions that arise in crises and conflicts are usually examined as drivers of protest (anger, rage, annoyance) or as a specific mode of negotiating conflicts (level-headed, heated, hateful). I will argue that emotions in contemporary conflicts are themselves increasingly becoming the subject of debate. I will first review key findings from research in the sociology of emotions over the past dec-ades, which paint a picture of emotions as objects of normative evaluation and as accessible to individuals and society. These two approaches to emotions—evaluation and accessibility—are the reasons why emotions have become a matter of dispute in the present. I will illustrate this dispute with the help of some empirical examples about which emotions are appropriate or inappropriate in the face of socially controversial issues.

Christian von Scheve is Professor of Sociology and head of the Sociology of Emotion research group at Freie Universität Berlin. He studied sociology, psychology, economics, and political science at the University of Hamburg, where he received his Ph.D. in economics and social sciences in 2007. He was an assistant professor of sociology at the Institute of Sociology, University of Vienna, from 2007 to 2008 and at the Languages of Emotion cluster of excellence and the Institute of Sociology at the Freie Universität Berlin from 2008 to 2014. From 2011 to 2014, he was Research Professor at the German Institute for Economic Research (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Berlin). He is a member of the Executive Board of the Collaborative Research Center Affective Societies and a research fellow at the German Institute for Economic Research. Selected publications: Von der Emotion zur Sprache: Wie wir lernen, über unsere Gefühle zu sprechen (co-author, 2017); Emotion and Social Structures: The Affective Foundations of Social Order (2013); Emotionen und soziale Strukturen: Die affektiven Grundlagen sozialer Ordnung (2009); Affect and Emotion in Multi-Religious Secular Societies (co-editor, 2019); Public Spheres of Resonance: Constellations of Affect and Language (co-editor, 2019); Affective Societies—Key Concepts (co-editor, 2019); Collective Emotions (co-editor, 2014); The Routledge Handbook of Emotions and Mass Media (co-editor, 2010).

The event will be held in English