This article outlines a conceptual framework for analyzing meta-emotions in audiovisual media. Meta-emotions are evaluative thoughts and feelings about emotions that are represented and/or elicited in the viewer. Based on a conceptual analysis of meta-emotion in terms of current emotion theory the essay concludes that meta-emotions are communicated on different levels of cognitive complexity. Cues to meta-emotion can be present in (1) the aesthetic representation of emotions; (2) the narrative context of emotions; and (3) symbolic elements that refer to cultural norms and values concerning emotions. The essay exemplifies this three-level framework using a film scene and a music video. Specifically, the essay analyzes the communication of meta-emotions about anger in Fight Club, and meta-emotions about sadness in Frozen.
Murray Smith’s proposal in Film, Art, and the Third Culture for a naturalized aesthetics is of interest to both film theorists and psychologists: for the former, it helps to elucidate how films work; for the latter, it provides concrete application cases of psychological theories. However, there are reasons for believing that the theory of emotions that Smith has adopted from psychology to ground his case studies—an extended version of basic emotions theory—is less well supported than he suggests. The available empirical evidence seems more compatible with the assumption that the different emotions are outputs of a single, integrated system.
Moving Relations, Patterned Effusions
François Berthomé and Michael Houseman
This article reconsiders the connection between 'ritual' and 'emotion' from a pragmatic, relational perspective in which rituals are seen as dynamic interactive contexts and emotions as fairly short-lived emergent properties and integral components of these interactions. It emphasizes ritual's capacity to reallocate social positions by instantiating characteristic patterns of relationship, and the way particular emotions crystallize and express these patterns. In short, ritual emotions are treated as the sensate qualities of ritual relationships. From this standpoint, emotions feature in ceremonial settings not as striking experiences grafted onto practices and representations, but as constitutive aspects of ritual interactions themselves, whose properties of bodily salience and relational reflexivity both reflect and inflect the latter's course in a variety of sensory, expressive, moral, and strategic ways. Four issues relating to ritual and emotion are discussed within the framework of particular ceremonial practices that have been the object of much recent research: (1) the ritual expression of emotions in funerary laments, (2) the waning of cathartic models in the interpretation of rites of affliction, (3) the intense emotional arousal characteristic of initiatory ordeals, and (4) the self-constructive, affective dimensions of contemporary devotional practices.
Looking at television series True Blood (2008-), The Vampire Diaries (2009-), and The Walking Dead (2010-), this article analyzes positive emotions in horror: the sexual emotions, trust, and hope. The article starts by substituting the positive-negative dichotomy of emotions with seeing emotions as coming in a “package“ (Solomon) and having a “story“ (Frijda), thus working together and not in opposition. It goes on to discuss the interaction of predation and sex in True Blood, torture and trust in The Vampire Diaries, and disgust, despair, and hope in The Walking Dead. The article then considers horror emotions, positive and negative, from a functional and evolutionary perspective. Comparing horror to play fighting and fiction to the pretend of play, the article suggests four reasons why horror is attractive: we learn to feel emotions (sensation), to react to emotions (evaluation), control our emotions (action tendency in the here-and-now), and to experiment (action tendency and planning for what comes next).
Concepts of Emotions in Indian Languages
At first glance, a conceptual history of emotions appears counterintuitive. Unlike the concepts of democracy or liberalism, emotion concepts seem to refer to stable objects, rooted in the genetic heritage of the human race. However, answers to the question, “What is an emotion?” vary widely across time and space. It cannot even be taken for granted that our analytic concept of emotion is matched by corresponding concepts in the sources: the very question might be untranslatable. In the first section, the introduction will discuss the challenge a conceptual history of emotions faces from psychology’s perception of affective phenomena as objects that exist independent of their representation. The aim of this section is to clear the theoretical and methodological ground for an investigation of emotion concepts in South Asian traditions, which will be the central focus of the second section of this introduction.
Emotions, Evolution, and Climate Change
Debra J. Davidson
Understanding that climate change poses considerable threats for social systems, to which we must adapt in order to survive, social responses to climate change should be viewed in the context of evolution, which entails the variation, selection, and retention of information. Digging deeper into evolutionary theory, however, emotions play a surprisingly prominent role in adaptation. This article offers an explicitly historical, nondirectional conceptualization of our potential evolutionary pathways in response to climate change. Emotions emerge from the intersection of culture and biology to guide the degree of variation of knowledge to which we have access, the selection of knowledge, and the retention of that knowledge in new (or old) practices. I delve into multiple fields of scholarship on emotions, describing several important considerations for understanding social responses to climate change: emotions are shared, play a central role in decision-making, and simultaneously derive from past evolutionary processes and define future evolutionary processes.
Charlotte Sun Jensen
This article investigates the film trailer in a cognitive film analytic perspective. More specifically, the focus is on how it circumvents its ontological tension between both giving and holding back its product—the film—at the same time. The hypothesis is that trailers that follow a classic genre convention seek to sell their products by condensing a range of genre traits, which arouses a specific, intense emotional experience. Most particularly, the trailer chooses to activate the main genre of the film and the corresponding range of emotions by reducing and reordering its often complex narrative. On this basis, compared to the film, the trailer may be viewed as an alternative narrative.
A Case Study of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Emotion is an extremely valuable, yet underdeveloped, topic of study particularly in the world of International Relations. This article seeks to rectify this discrepancy by reconceptualizing the issue of emotion in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the last century, Israelis and Palestinians have been waging war over the same territory in which religions, cultures, and values are constantly clashing. Passionate emotions are a cause, and also a consequence, of the constant physical and ideological battles faced by both sides. The question of how to reconcile differences between the two will not be easy to answer. Considering how peace can viably be implemented requires a deeper comprehension of what emotions entail as well as their role in prolonging conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
The article analyzes how action films use different emotional sources of arousal to create narrative tension and suspense in the PECMA flow (i.e., the mental flow of perceptions that activate emotions, cognition, and action). It analyzes how different emotions link to each other or contrast each other in the narrative flow that one metaphorically might call an emotion symphony. The flow may create a time-out experience because of the way in which the action-oriented flow recruits consciousness in full, similar to the way in which music creates flow experiences, as discussed by cognitive music aestheticians. The article discusses how the flow supports character simulation and how it uses a small set of scenarios (HTTOFF scenarios) to drive the flow. To illustrate the symphonic flow, it makes a close reading of John McTiernan’s Die Hard (1988).
Emotion Ideologies in Contemporary German Education about the Holocaust
Lisa Jenny Krieg
Based on an ethnographic field study in Cologne, this article discusses the connection between memory practices and emotion ideologies in Holocaust education, using Sara Ahmed’s concept of affective economies. Moral goals, political demands, and educators’ care for their students lead to tensions in the education process. Two case studies illustrate how educators and learners express different, often contradictory concepts of emotion. In these studies, emotions are selectively opposed to rationality. In some contexts, emotions are considered inferior to facts and obstacles to the learning process; in others, they are superior to facts because they can communicate moral messages reliably.