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Session Overview
RN11_08: Emotions in National and European Politics
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Christian von Scheve, Freie Universität Berlin
Location: BS.G.35
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road

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The Contrasting Emotional Bases Of Political Populism: Comparing Brazil’s 2013 Protests And The United Kingdom’s 2016 Brexit Vote

Gavin Brent Sullivan

Coventry University, United Kingdom

Political events that achieve national and international significance have complex dynamic features that warrant analysis of their contributing individual, group-based and collective emotions. Social structures and collective memory are background features of large-scale political behaviour which are necessary to providing a coherent explanatory account but not sufficient in practice to determine the emotions that arise during actions to secure or maintain control of economic and cultural resources. In this paper, I provide an overview of the role of theoretical work on the emotional drivers of populist political behavior focusing initially on explanations proposing similar or dissimilar emotions purported to underpin and drive forms of left or right wing political populism (Salmela & von Scheve, 2018). Theories of group-based and collective emotions (von Scheve & Ismer, 2013), collective action (van Zommeren, 2013) and affective practices (Wetherell, 2012) are, in turn, explored in relation to two recent empirical examples: Brazil’s 2013 anti-government protests and the United Kingdom’s 2016 Brexit vote. Thematic analysis of 25 interviews with Brazilians during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 20 interviews with UKIP voters pre- and post-2015 General Election and before the UK Referendum highlight the following themes: how particular discrete or mixed personal, group-based and collective emotions contribute to popular widespread political action, the role of dynamic relational and contextual features in the transformation and generation of further emotions, and longer-term implications of emotion-laden divisions and restriction of intergroup solidarity in the development of collective political identities and ambitions. Potential implications are discussed in terms of policies and practices that might encourage “healing” as well potential long-term ways to address sources of group-based dissatisfaction, resentment, disengagement or distrust.

How to Research Polish Contexts and Effects of Group Ressentiment?

Piotr Werynski

Silesian University of Technology, Poland

The author as his objective set the following: (1) determining ontological, epistemological and methodological bases for the research on the creation and social effects of negative collective emotions (mostly ressentiments) reflecting, according to Max Scheler and Max Weber, the tensions in the social structure and culture; (2) pointing out and operationalizing the parameters characterizing the structural and cultural contexts as well as their effects cumulating in the public sphere; (3) creation of triangulation research procedure in order to, in a possibly standardized way, diagnose the potential ressentimental structural and cultural contexts; (4) constructing a deductive scheme of causal explanation, understood in a morphogenetic way (Margaret Archer), explaining the genesis of contemporary effects of the actions of collective ressentimental mechanisms in the Polish social structure, culture and public sphere.

Managing Feelings Within European Institutions? The Case Of Emotion Work In European Union Politics

Rosa Sanchez Salgado, Alice Vogel

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The

This paper analyzes emotion work in the European Union (EU) with a specific focus on the European Parliament (EP) and the European Commission (EC). While emotion work –studied within the discipline of sociology of emotions- has been found to be highly relevant within business organizations little is known about its eventual role in political organizations. This paper shows that a meta-discussion on the role of emotions takes place within European institutions and that there is great variation per key player and per policy area. When the attention was shift to the policy areas where emotions were the most present, such as Foreign and security policy, Food safety and Justice and Home affairs, the most important dimensions of emotion work, including a pre-arrangement of what is possible and feeling rules were clearly identified. Data analyzed include the EP database (1999-2014) and the EUSpeech database (2007-2015).

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