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Emotions in History (2011)

Emotions in History - Lost and Found Cover

Frevert, Ute:

Emotions in History - Lost and Found

Budapest: CEU Press 2011.
ISBN: 978-615-5053-34-4
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Empty human faces, without any sign of emotion, as the avant-la-lettre constructivist Kazimir Malevich painted them, invite us to think about emotions in a similarly constructivist mode. Emotions, this book argues, are historically variable and contingent. Even if men and women have always felt and shown emotions, they have differed in style, object, and valence. While certain emotions got lost in history, others rose to prominence, depending on political incentives, social challenges, and cultural choices. In European societies, honour and shame practices have fundamentally changed over the course of modernity, gradually losing their grip on people’s self-concept and behavior. At the same time, compassion and empathy have become crucial components of the modern “emotional self”. As much as they triggered a plethora of humanitarian activities and institutions, they also witnessed severe setbacks and obstacles.