In psychological research, ressentiment is alluded to as a negative emotional response directed at social groups that are mostly marked as ‘inferior others’. However, conceptual work on this notion is sorely missing. In our conceptual proposal, we use the notion of ‘moral emotions’ as a starting point: typically referred to as “other-condemning” moral emotions, psychologists have loosely conceptualised anger, contempt and disgust as a set of negative emotions that have distinct elicitors and involve affective responses to sanction moral misconduct of ‘others’. Though this conglomerate of different other-condemning emotions might describe emotions of ressentiment, we argue that the phenomenon itself is a more complex sentiment. Therefore, we apply Withy’s concept of ‘disclosive posture’ to account for the different psychological processes underlying ressentiment. Disclosing refers to a specific openness to the world, which in the case of ressentiment implies a specific awareness of and sensibility for instances of inequality, grudge, or disfavour. Ressentiment thus becomes a perceptual tool in morally relevant everyday situations. The term ‘posture’ refers to a habitualised, embodied comportment or action tendency that leads to the adoption of a negative attitude and stance towards others. Drawing on Withy, we discuss ressentiment’s similarities to the closely related concept of hatred to embed the analysis of ressentiment in a broader social framework.
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-021-00546-5
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Emotions as Evaluative Feelings.Bennett W. Helm - 2009 - Emotion Review 1 (3):248--55.
Phenomenological Approaches to Hatred: Scheler, Pfänder and Kolnai.Ingrid Vendrell Ferran - 2018 - New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 16.
Ressentiment.Max Scheler - 1961 - Marquette University Press.
Emotional Roots of Right-Wing Political Populism.Mikko Salmela & Christian von Scheve - 2017 - Social Science Information 56 (4):567-595.

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