Emotions in History
Coming to terms with emotions and how they influence human behaviour, seems to be of the utmost importance to societies that are obsessed with everything “neuro.” On the other hand, emotions have become an object of constant individual and social manipulation since “emotional intelligence” emerged as a buzzword of our times. Reflecting on this burgeoning interest in human emotions makes one think of how this interest developed and what fuelled it. From a historian’s point of view, it can be traced back to classical antiquity. But it has undergone shifts and changes which can in turn shed light on social concepts of the self and its relation to other human beings (and nature). The volume focuses on the historicity of emotions and explores the processes that brought them to the fore of public interest and debate.
List of illustrations
Preface and acknowledgments
The historical economy of emotions: Introduction
Brussels, 2010: Emotional politics and the politics of emotion – The Economy of emotions: How it works and why it matters – The modern and the pre-modern
Chapter 1. Losing emotions
Losing emotions in trauma – Losing emotions in psychology and historiography – Losing emotions in the civilising process – Losing emotions in words: acedia and melancholia – Losing the mot-force: honour – Honour as an emotional disposition: internal/external – Honour practices: The duel – The emotional power of duelling – Shaming the coward – Equality and group cohesion – Crimes of honour, now and then – Chastity and family honour – Rape, sex, and national honour – The decline of honour, or its return?
Chapter 2. Gendering emotions
Rage and insult – Power and self-control – Women’s strength, women’s weakness – Modernity and the natural order – Emotional topographies of gender – Sensibility – Romantic families, passionate politics – Intense emotions versus creative minds – Schools of emotions: the media – Self-help literature – More schooling: armies, peer groups, politics – Collective emotions and charismatic leadership – New emotional profiles and social change – Angry young men, angry young women – Winds of change
Chapter 3. Finding emotions
Empathy and compassion – Social emotions in 18th-century moral philosophy – Self-love and sympathy – Suffering and pity – Fraternité and the French Revolution – Human rights – Abolitionism and the change in sensibility – Sympathy, lexical – Schopenhauer’s Nächstenliebe versus Nietzsche’s Fernsten-Liebe – Compassion and its shortcomings – Counter-forces and blockades – Suffering, pity and the education of feelings – Modern dilemmas – Humanitarianism and its crises
Emotions lost and found: Conclusions and perspectives
Index of names