The Sociology of Emotions

Research group
Active research
Project period
2000 - ongoing
Project owner
Institutionen för Sociologi och arbetsvetenskap

Short description

The research group and its seminar series Emotion Seminar at Gothenburg University (Emogu) was started in 2012 and is a hub for researchers with an interest in the role of emotions in social interactions, social behavior, and actions in small groups as well as in larger collective contexts and at the societal level. The group engages participants from the Department of Sociology and Work Science, from other departments at GU, and not least nationally and internationally. The group is closely linked to the European Sociological Association's research network RN11 Sociology of Emotions.

Sociology of emotions is a perspective and research area with multidisciplinary elements that shed light on the importance of emotions in society at both the micro, meso and macro levels. Cognition and emotion, thought and feeling, are seen as closely intertwined, which makes it crucial to study and analyze emotions in order to understand and explain human action, social reproduction and social change.

If people did not have emotions, there would be no drive to act or react to anything in the social environment, structures would have no impact and we would not care about norms, rules or laws. Shame (the feeling that our social relationships are endangered) and pride (the feeling of being liked and recognized in social relationships) are often called master emotions and regulate both emotional expressions and behavior. Emotions are thus inherent to our striving for certain goals, for being part of certain groups, to how we value ourselves. In all social contexts there are feeling rules (usually unspoken) that orient us in how we should feel and express ourselves. We adapt to these rules through different types of emotion work or emotion management. In private life and close relationships, emotions and emotional work play a key role, but emotion management is also used strategically in, for example, politics, social movements and working life.

At the department, research is conducted on the role of emotions in the environmental movement, in Swedish courts and legal practice, in love relationships, in the exercise of authority (e.g. the social insurance office).

In addition to the seminar series Emogu, teaching in emotion sociology is also conducted at a basic and advanced level. The group regularly hosts prominent international guest researchers in the research field.

Scientific journal

Emogu is co-hosting the scientific journal Emotions and Society.

PhD Course

We offer a PhD course in the Sociology of Emotions biannually, in collaboration with the Danish universities of Copenhagen and Aalborg.

Swedish course leader: Åsa Wettergren,

Ulla Björnberg
Sofia Björk
Carl Cassegård
Veronica Grönlund
Christoph Haug
Merete Hellum
Kerstin Jacobsson
Karl Malmqvist
Jesper Petersson
Marie Sundström
Sara Uhnoo
Cathrin Wasshede
Linda Weichselbraun
Åsa Wettergren

Guest researchers
Charlotte Bloch, senior lecturer, Copenhagen University
Helena Flam, Professor, Universität Leipzig
Jack Barbalet, Professor, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Terry Maroney, Professor, Vanderbilt University
Sylvia Terpe, PhD, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Katharina Scherke, Professor, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Deborah Gould, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz