Emotion in Social Relations: Cultural, Group, and Interpersonal Processes

By Brian Parkinson; Agneta H. Fisher et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8

Interconnecting Contexts

How does emotion fit into the social world? Earlier chapters of this book have addressed this question in a number of ways, and at a number of levels. As we have seen, what counts as an emotion of a particular type partly depends on our cultural background. When and how it is regulated depend both on what society recommends and on what resources it provides for the task of regulation. Moving from the cultural to the group level, emotions are attached to objects of collective as well as individual concern, contributing to intragroup solidarity and intergroup differentiation. Other groups affect our group's emotions, and our group's emotions affect other groups, just as at the interpersonal level, other individuals affect our emotions and our emotions affect them. But how do these different kinds of social influences, effects, and functions interlock? What is the big picture? In this chapter, we sketch our impression of its basic shape.

Our aim is to provide an integrative overview of the ways in which cultural, group-level, and interpersonal factors influence one another, and set the context for the experience, communication, and regulation of emotion. We start by considering how cultural factors shape social processes that might impact emotion at the group and interpersonal level. In particular, we attempt to set out the range of societal influences that may be worthy of psychological attention. Having delineated these social structural factors, we turn to the questions of when and where they might exert their impact on emotion. By what processes do societal

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