Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier
Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier

Tidsskriftet

Følelseshistorie er et forskningsfelt i eksplosiv vækst. Med udgangspunkt i væsentlige nyere bidrag inden for historiefaget og kulturstudier diskuterer artiklen de centrale teoretiske problemstillinger, forskere konfronteres med, når de vil undersøge følelser i forskellige historiske kontekster: Hvordan skal vi definere følelser? I hvor høj grad er de socialt konstituerede og kulturelt specifikke? Er der noget naturgivent og universelt ved det menneskelige følelsesliv? Artiklen taler for at undersøge følelser som en form for praksis, der udspringer fra en social struktureret krop, og som påvirker de sociale sammenhænge, hvori de udøves.

English summary

The history of emotions is currently a rapidly expanding field. Probing a number of important recent contributions to the field, this article discusses the central theoretical and methodological challenges that researchers must confront when interrogating emotions in different historical contexts: How should we define emotions? To what extent are they socially constituted and culturally contingent? Is there anything universal about human emotional experience? The article makes the case that the greatest challenge for historians of emotion is to conceptualize emotions in a way that captures their social constitution while at the same time implies a principle of emotional changes over time. Taking Monique Scheer’s concept of ”emotional practices” as a starting point, the article argues that it could productively be combined with theories that point to the sociopolitical effects of emotions. This conceptualization makes it possible to shift the theoretical focus away from the emotions’ ontological status towards an analysis of how emotions are done and with what effects. Examining different empirical examples from postcolonial studies, the article finally shows how the concept of emotional practices is useful to think with in analyses of the sociopolitical implications of emotions.