9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN11 Sociology of Emotions

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Theorising Emotions Building II, C6.09

Affective communication, social and biological roots

Studies in fields of neuroscience (Damásio, 1994) and psychology (Frijda, 1986) demonstrated the importance of emotion for the survival system as an organism and as a subject. With this approach substantiated by the natural evolution premises (LeDoux, 1999) they launched new interrogations about the prewired conceptions of life against the culture-learned processes. On the other side the survival or adaptive functioning of the emotions (Lang and Bradley, 1998) served also to put a strong emphasis in the spirit of the union and collectivity. Survival would be only manageable for humans if we took into account the human bonding possibility (Bowlby, 1969), which would be dependent of the mammalian evolution (Whybrow, 1999).
Taking into account the emotion impact in our species and observing it as a generator of socialization we could say that communication, which is a social action, depends on the possibility to establish connections between humans, and depends of the individual emotions, which are relied to the prewired survival needs. Beyond the natural existence, emotions are strategic in communication, becoming action targets. That´s what happens, in the interpersonal communication, for example in Goffman studies on the dramaturgical perspective of interaction (1959) and in the most recent practices studied by the affective computing area.
For that matter it´s in our interest to demonstrate in this paper the impact of biological emotions in the social domain related with the questions of survival and natural evolution and then establish linking to the communication use of affectivity.


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Damásio, António, (1994), O Erro de Descartes, Europa- América, Lisboa, 1995
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Goffman, Erving (1959), The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Anchor Books,USA
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LeDoux, Josef, (1998), The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life, Simon & Schuster
Whybrow, Peter (1999), interview, in Why Dogs Smile & Chimpanzees Cry (1999), Carol L. Fleisher.