Psychoanalytic sociology and the interpretation of emotion

Abstract
In this paper I explore the sociological study of emotion, contrasting constructionist and psychoanalytic accounts of envy as an emotion. I seek not to contra each vis-à-vis the other but to establish some kind of synthesis in a psychoanalytic sociology of emotion. I argue that although the constructionist approach to emotion gives us valuable insights into the social and moral dimensions of human encounters, it is unable to address the level of emotional intensity found for example in murderous rage against ethnic groups, or the emotional and often self destructive elements of terrorism. Psychoanalytic ideas do engage with these dynamics, and as such, a theory that synthesises both the social construction of reality and the psychodynamics of social life is necessary if we are to engage with these destructive emotions
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