Emotions have long been a central concern in philosophy, psychological and sociological studies. When anthropologists began to study emotion, they challenged many assumptions shared by Western academics and lay persons by exposing the cultural variability of emotional meanings. In this collection of original essays by anthropologists concerned with the relationship of language and emotion, it is argued that the key focus to the study of emotion might be the politics of social life rather than the psychology of the individual. Through close studies of talk about emotion and emotional discourses in social contexts from poetry and song to therapeutic narratives, scholars who have worked in India, Fiji, the United States, Egypt, Senegal and the Solomon Islands show how emotion is tied to politics of everyday interaction. Their arguments and cross-cultural findings will intrigue and provoke anyone who has thought about the relationship between emotion, language and social life. The book will be of special interest to those who find the boundaries between cultural, psychological and linguistic anthropology, sociology, cross-cultural psychiatry, and social psychology too confining.
List of contributors; Preface; 1. Introduction: emotion, discourse, and the politics of everyday life Lila Abu-Lughod and Catherine A. Lutz; 2. Shifting politics in Bedouin love poetry Lila Abu-Lughod; 3. Moral discourse and the rhetoric of emotions Geoffrey M. White; 4. Engendered emotion: gender, power, and the rhetoric of emotional control in American discourse Catherine A. Lutz; 5. Topographies of the self: praise and emotion in Hindu India Arjun Appadurai; 6. Shared and solidarity sentiments: the discourse of friendship, play, and anger in Bhatgaon Donald Brenneis; 7. Registering affect: heteroglossia in the linguistic expression of emotion Judith T. Irvine; 8. Language in the discourse of the emotions Daniel V. Rosenberg; 9. Untouchability and the fear of death in a Tamil song Margaret Trawick; Index.