How Emotions Reshape Social Relations, c. 1700 to today
Most, if not all, human societies, know ‘feeling rules:’ historically and culturally contingent norms and expectations that manage the expression of emotions, judge their appropriateness, and sanction divergences.
This project explores how existing social formations become unsettled because individuals or groups start contesting what is considered commendable emotional behaviour. Foregrounding moments of conflicts when social judgments clash and when values, through friction and rupture, become reoriented, the issue sheds new light on historical and social change by looking at shifts in emotions and sensibilities.
The contributions will most likely be published in a special issue in the first half of 2024.
A collaboratively developed multi-disciplinary work, this special issue brings together historians, sociologists, and ethnographers. Its case-studies cover Europe, US America, and Japan and range from the later eighteenth century to today. While drawing from a wide range of sources, including ego-documents, the press, ethnographic research, and sociological interviews, its unifying theme is the role of emotions in uncertain times.
With social rupture being a preoccupation of the twenty-first century world, this special issue offers a timely investigation into how people emotionally engage with each other in times of transformation.
Ugly Ambition: “Sportsgirls’” and the German Press in the 1920s
The potential emotional and physical effects of women’s sports were the subject of ongoing debate in the 1920s. In particular, the impact that competition and ambition had on "sports girls" was perceived as a provocation of established feminine norms of behaving and feeling. This chapter illuminates how female athletes challenged and changed gendered feeling rules, and how this was reflected in the sports press.
The Unruly Dance of Sympathy: Blackface, Anti-Slavery Sentiment, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the Stage in Antebellum America
This article movs sequentially through a popular stage production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1850s New York to consider how it generated sympathy for the characters portrayed. Its method draws out the forms emotions took in relation to the blackface performance style of the time, the spatial and perspectival dynamics of the stage, the ongoing music and dance that suffused overall experience, and the feeling rules brought to bear on it all by outraged moral reformers.
Headpiece illustration by Hammat Billings for “Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly,” by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Illustrated Edition. Original Designs by Billings; Engraved by Baker and Smith. (Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1853). Tom, Eva.
Disgust for Duellists: Clashing Aristocratic Feeling Rules in Italy, c. 1690-1740
There was a high level of elite violence in early modern Italy. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, criticisms of this way of life from aristocrats themselves grew in volume and number. This article explores the emotions history of the uneven transition away from violent revenge as a way of life and a rule for feeling among the early modern Italian elite. In particular, it examines the case of the former duellist and philosopher Paolo Mattia Doria (1667-1746).
Why so Anti-Social? Ultras and the Modalities of Passion in Transit
As some of the most intensively devoted fans in Germany, ultras coordinate crowd atmosphere in the arena to support their respective football clubs on the field while actively positioning themselves against sport’s governing bodies who they see as illegitimate and complicit in the commercialization of professional football. With a particular focus on travel and transportation as a feature of hardcore fandom, I chart ultras’ activities in transit to games in which quotidian ambience is often hijacked and repurposed as a form of estranged public address.
Tears, unexpectedly: British Men during the Two Minutes Silence in 1919
After World War I, Britain introduced the “two minutes’ silence” to commemorate their fallen countrymen. Mourners being unfamiliar with the public display of grief, the first years saw intense organizational and emotional negotiation, some leading to fundamental shifts in norms on the social appropriateness of weeping: masculine public tears, ridiculed as “emotional incontinence” while the harsh nineteenth-century regime of the stiff upper lip still reigned, became an accepted, even appealing emotional expression.
Loving the Old Homeland, Living in a New One: The Culture of Sudeten German Expellees and their Descendants
After the Second World War, around three million Sudeten Germans, were expelled from Czechoslovakia. Despite being German nationals, their culture differed markedly from West Germany. Many expellees organized in Homeland-associations to preserve their heritage and cohere as “communities of suffering”, but also to articulate political demands. This chapter will investigate the transformation of such homeland groups in post-war West Germany, especially through the generational shifts that saw expulsion becoming a cultural memory rather than a first-hand experience.
To Stay Civil During the Carnage: British Military Memoirs from the Napoleonic Wars
Kerstin Maria Pahl
During the momentous Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815), British soldiers produced an abundance of military memoirs. Bridging the divide between service abroad and civil life at home, these texts also aimed at changing military feeling rules: soldiers should be seen as men of feeling, not callous killing machines; they were able to preserve a moral sense of respectability while wading in blood and to expect them to just meet horror with hardness was no longer acceptable.
Respect! Erdoğanism and National Identity among Turkish Migrants in Germany since 2010
Since the time of the ‘economic miracle’ (“Wirtschaftswunder”), the German government recruited so-called ‘guest workers’ from other countries, including Turkey. For 60 years now, Turkish migrants continue to be pivots of discussions on the state of society, especially since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has found a loyal voter base in Turkish Germans (“Deutschtürken”). To many of them, ‘Erdoğanism,’ offers an ethno-nationalist affinity, which allows them to deal with the discrimination they encounter even after decades of living in Germany.
Confronting “Lonely Death”: The Narratives of Death Scene Cleaning Workers in Contemporary Japan
This project investigates the phenomenon of “lonely death” (which refers to the cases that people died alone undetected for an extended period of time) and the special cleaning industries that have subsequently emerged. The research explores emotional effects of the industries. By mourning for the deceased and by publicizing this practice, the cleaners turn lonely deaths from neglected incidents into cases for public reflections, and transform the “undesirable” cleaning work into “dignified” work appreciated by the public.
Pride and Prejudice and Working-Class Furniture: A History of the “Gelsenkirchener Barock”
From the 1960s onwards, the working-class's taste for heavy, ornate furniture was looked down upon as "Gelsenkirchener Barock." While it subsequently fell out of fashion, shifting class and generational dynamics saw a younger generation of millennials as well as the city of Gelsenkirchen reappropriating and embracing the style, turning "Gelsenkirchener Barock" cabinets, again, into what they had been from the outset: objects of pride.