Sexualised violence, cultural meanings and emotions
Department of Research Methodology University of Lapland Rovaniemi, Finland
The sociology of emotions has actively theorised and researched the social and historical construction of emotions. It has, however, bypassed one logical potentiality that this body of research offers. Instead of asking how emotions are culturally constructed it is possible also to analyse cultural meanings through emotions. This question frames my presentation that focuses on how women who have experienced serious sexual violence or violence in their relationship speak about their emotions. What kind of emotional discourses they use? What kind of social position is legitimated through experiences? How do the vulnerability, power and the cultural meanings of violence coalesce with each other? What do these emotions tell about the cultural meanings of sexualised violence? The empirical material comes from the follow-up research of 15 women. It was collected using therapeutic, deep interviews and active interviews that called for different kinds of emotional speech. Therefore the material consists of varied discourses of emotions and emotional experiences. However, the empirical material is used mainly for theoretical reasons, for to help to conceptualize theoretically the connections between lived emotions, subjectivity, cultural meanings and power. Theoretically the paper combines semiotics and the phenomenology of body with sociology of emotions. The aim of the paper is to offer one possible way to theorise emotions at the same time deeply socially and culturally constructed and embodied, lived experiences.