The emotions in the political game, a potentially and paradoxically masculine ressource
Following in the footsteps of the feminist interpretations of Pierre Bourdieu’s work, gender can be conceptualized as a space especially structured most notably by emotional properties. Indeed, in the modern tradition, becoming a man implies to distance oneself from the non-regulated emotional expressions manifestations associated with women and children. Such conceptualization enables to complement the works of gender studies applied to the study of political personnel. It also complements the works about the privatization of politics. Both those research objects can come together through the concept of « informalization » (Cas Wouters), which refers to the process of a controlled loosening of emotional constraints, in many ways opposed to the elaboration of modern masculinities. This paper uses the books, bios and publications written by proeminent political figures as an empirical material. It shows that, in practice, there is no contradiction between the production of a discourse on personal emotiveness and the production of masculinities by political leaders. On the contrary, this process is symbolically associated to the citizens’ expectations, and thus allows for an adaptation and a reproduction of political and gender dominations.
The interdependence between militant and professional careers
We seek to clarify one of the blind spots of sociology of activism, the link between the professional, activist and private spheres, by starting from the premise that the conversion of professional resources into the activist sphere is not only due to the capitalization of experiences but also to primordial sensibilities. Through a study of the careers of three activists, we will see that the primordial sensibilities are formatted by the caritas, understood as the concern for others mixed with guilt and compassion. While guilt allows the individual to comply with the system of family values, compassion gives access to transgressive behaviours that go against this system of values. Doing so, the caritas becomes a form of affirmation of identity. This analysis brings us to a more in-depth examination of the notion of interest to selflessness: the reasons given by these activists have a strong link with their most private history.
Emotions at the top level of party leadership
This paper aims to focus on the role performed by emotions within the managing of parties at the top level of leadership. The emotional dimension is usually lacking in the most famous party theories : neither organizational models which focus on the quest for power, nor those which are dealing with the social groundings of parties address this issue. Studies on the professionalized top party leadership usually insist more on the expertise and the use of technical skills (Panebianco, 1988) than on the use of emotions, except within the context of managerialization (Aldrin 2007). Relying on the results of a field survey on the leadership of the PS and on some insights on the British Labour Party, this paper enhances that the more the effective power of the leadership deals with “symbolic” matters, the more the managing of emotions becomes crucial to the understanding of the party leaders careers and of the collective operating of the organization.
Emotions in the courtroom
This paper draws on recent work carried out with Nicolas Dodier on the role of victims in criminal cases. We have recently looked at the different ways in which jurists approach the increasing presence of victims in legal proceedings, both within the framework of their doctrinal work and during their pleadings in trials; when such cases concern collective tragedies, their main characteristic is the significant number of “civil parties” present in court. In addition to the numerous stances which can be adopted, we will discuss the advantages of using the notion of normative repertoire to take account of the existence of a common set of positions taken by jurists to envisage the construction of a suitable relationship with the victims. Work on the emotions that victims arouse, or should arouse, is central to this normative repertoire, opposing jurists on the contribution that emotions can make to the construction of a fair and equitable trial.
The imaginary Polynesian
Political leaderships present emotional aspects that may explain certain forms of domination in a local political space. The question of the leadership of Gaston Flosse, former president of French Polynesia – with a political career reaching all possible mandates and positions during almost sixty years – takes place in a peculiar research field. Indeed, French Polynesia has an autonomy statute inside the French Republic. Located at 17 000 kilometers from Paris, this territory, with its archipelagic framework, has also different anthropological and sociological variables which belong at the same time to the Occidental and the Polynesian categories. This situation contributes to the hybridism of politics and is illustrated by various emotional factors. On the one hand, these factors are expressing the mobilization of political resources by the leader. On the other hand, they allow to precise the relation to power of the followers that can be described in the political imaginaries. Thus, the emotional dimension of politics appears at different levels. About political resources, the analysis of the interactions between the mobilization of multidimensional resources and the properties of the political space, in which the leader is evolving, helps to understand the development of the leadership. So the understanding of the trajectory of the political entrepreneur needs a look at the personal resources, especially the ability to put charisma on a performance. In the Polynesian case, it relies on the non-verbal dimension, the theatricality, the public speaking skill and the highlighting of the extraordinary capacities of the leader. Besides, inside a social space characterized by an important emotional and affective dimension in the cognitive representations of politics, the study of the political imaginaries puts into light mechanisms of legitimacy (identity story-telling, personalization of the territorial symbols…) and domination (mobilization of the political resource of fear, symbolic violence). These imaginaries teach us about the relations of the followers to power and democracy.
Expertise and love in the defense of nature
This research (2007-2011) is about the political experience of the Defense of the Piedmont Network (RDP), a citizen association created in 2006 by neighbors of Lo Cañas’ neighborhood in the commune of La Florida (362903 inhabitants). The purpose of the association is to protect the last primary forest in Santiago’s piedmont area, the Panul. Firstly, this work shows how the association starts their claim for nature through reaffirming Lo Cañas’ identity as a neighborhood. Later, they understand that they need to become experts in order to defend the environment. We will then show that if citizen’s knowledge plays a central role in the “defense” of this territory and in trying to influence in matters regarding the forest, emotions are also fundamental elements in order to compromise, develop a relationship towards nature and overcoming problems with public workers and authorities. Two events in Lo Cañas determine the consolidation of the RDP. In 1993, a landslide floods a considerable area of Santiago, seriously affecting La Floridas’ piedmont, causing a catastrophe. Years later, the discovery of the Panul, a 100 acres primary forest, threatened by a new real state project, will stimulate the process of collective action in Lo Cañas and the consolidation of the RDP in 2006. Since 1990, the piedmont is a space coveted by many actors: citizens, authorities, and real state companies have different ideas about this controversial territory. Citizens go towards authorities, public workers and experts, where emotions and technical expertise play an important role in these interactions. If the “defense of nature” finds certain legitimacy in the eyes of the public workers and authorities thanks to citizen’s knowledge, the affective relationship with the environment however is not easily transformable into a persuasive argument. “Loving” the environment, the neighborhood or the existent forests isn’t a compelling argument when it comes to evaluate real state projects and urban transformations. Nonetheless, the ethnographic research shows that the affective dimension is inseparable from citizen’s political action and nature’s becoming. “Being affected”, retaking Jeanne Favret-Saada’s expression, opens the possibility of a communication (1990). This communication or “affectation” not only triggers the beginning engagement towards the loved objet (nature); it also makes the collective existence of the association last. It is necessary to love in order to want to protect the forest, argument RDP’s members. In a context marked by the absence of effective dispositions ensuring citizen participation in public decisions, expressing feelings and emotion in interactions – empathy, rage or anger, for example –influence the outcome of the meetings.
Fear and trembling: Talking emotions with young activists of the ‘Islamic cause’ in Pakistan
This paper looks at one type of socio-political activism that had gained a specific salience amongst the urban youth in Pakistan by the mid-2000s: committing oneself to defend the ’cause of Islam’ – although through various methods (from individual self-reform, at one end of the spectrum, to well-organized self-sacrificial violence at the other). If the ethical dimension of Islamic fundamentalism and Islamism (to use more common terms, yet not entirely adequate here) has been well studied, its emotional dynamic remains somehow a blind spot. This proves to be problematic because in the case under study, it is actually the narratives of the young men and women I met that inspired me to focus on emotions, leading me to even consider their activism, first and foremost, as an ’emotional experience’. By this, I mean not only an experience wherein emotions directed and re-directed decisions and actions, but also an experience that can be communicated by those who lived it, only through an emotional description. There are nevertheless complicated methodological implications attached to this empirical argument, which are explored in the second section of this paper. The entry point to the activists’ emotions is here their introspective narration which, in addition, happened in a specific setting, that of open interviews. It might therefore be useful to consider this mode of expressing emotion, and as importantly its context, as independent variables in explaining emotional experiences. In order to do so, as I will during the last phase of my ongoing research, I propose to identify, at this stage, four different types of accessed emotions: 1) named by the actors as an explanation of their own behavior, 2/ named by the actor as part of a discursive process of qualifying/disqualifying people, situations, relations, things; 3) un-named but analytically ascribed/deducted by the observer, 4) finally un-uttered emotions which are sensed by the interviewer.
Does the favorite son have a better chance to win ? Competitive struggles between political and biological heirs in Senegal since the first turnover (2000-2014)
This paper will question how politics can be produced by family schemes and practices looking into the family transmission of political power as a specific mode of political succession. While adopting an approach dealing with the « politics of affects » on African field, I will present the Senegalese case and how the transmission failed (at the moment) after having been largely considered within President Wade’s political camp since coming to office in 2000 (until 2012). This is to identify the conditions of possibility and non possibility of family transmission of political power and to analyze their impact on the restructuring of political and partisan arenas. I will focus on the struggle between political and biological heirs, particularly between Macky Sall (Wade’s former Prime Minister (2004-2007) and President of the National Assembly (2007-2008) disavowed in 2008 and last elected President in 2012 against Wade) and Karim Wade (the son of President Wade, former powerful Minister and currently being prosecuted for illicit enrichment and in prison since April 2013). This presentation will look into how the poltical and emotional arguments impact the competition area and the practices of political succession in Senegal. By identifying emotional registers mobilized by leaders in the political and the public spheres (speeches, electoral campaigns, etc.), this presentation aims at highligting the relations of domination and power in contemporary African societies.
Virile passions, feminine feelings?
This paper aims to analyze the genealogy of political emotions from the perspective of gender. It will consider the ambiguous relationship between politics and emotions from the beginnings of democracy. On one hand, emotions are conceived as being antithetical to a certain ideal of political rationalism. On the other hand, those who govern are expected to master their own emotions and those of the people. Rationality seems then to constitute a necessary principle of domination with respect to the emotive, which does not contain in itself a directing principle. Our analysis will first consider the gendered symbolism of this relationship between superior and inferior represented by the relation between reason and emotions, activity and passivity, masculine and feminine. These considerations will lead us to identify a semantic distinction between two terms used to signify political affects, namely ‘emotions’ and ‘passions’. We will show to what extent this semantic distinction harks back to the opposition between femininity and virility, the latter being to a greater extent associated with the public dimension of citizenship, the former symbolizing the private character of interest and activities lacking a republican dimension. Finally, the manner in which the gendered dimensions of emotions manifest themselves today, at once weakening and persisting, will be examined.
A heritage emotion serving a consensual commitment
In December, 1999, a storm destroyed most of the wooded areas in France. Damage to the park of the Palace of Versailles then became symbolic of the disaster, crystallizing an attention that supported an international campaign for replanting the park. Numerous works highlighted the intimate links between heritage and politics. But, most of them considered the way the established power spreads through heritage. Versailles’ disaster reveals a special patrimonial engagement because it not settled by the French government but it is the product of individual and dispersed commitments. This example reveals that, in certain circumstances, the heritage can suddenly and concretely be felt as one « very common » by everyone, enough to act as major catalyst a concerted effort. Such a shape of anchoring of the collective consciousness, via the heritage, raises questions. If the relation between heritage and identity was already studied (Goff 1998), the present case indeed invites to reconsider it. Analyzed usually through territorial, religious ethnic or politics issues, the membership in a group is here questioned differently. This emotion federated individuals stemming from very diverse horizons and who are not specialists of the heritage, revealing not only a change of the modalities of registration into a group, but also the emergence of a new shape of collective action (Traïni on 2009). Two aspects will consider in this paper to understand the emotional mobilization system : on the one hand I will examine the place of the nature and more exactly of the trees in the device, on the other hand I will present how public and private spheres are joined together for that. Between both, feelings contribute to the knitting of most of the time irreconcilable stakes besides. Multiple feelings contribute to the moral arrangement of the disaster and change the patrimonial consciousness. They involve more easily when other events reactivate them. Emotions, which are a prelude to the commitment to the heritage, are thus multiple but if they print the individual consciousness, it is above all because they are shareable and because they take root in a convenient place : vegetables. Environnemental protection case can be exploited into the political game. Data presented in this paper are based on an ethnographical survey led between 2000 and 2006 (Dassié on 2014) within the framework of a collective research program on the patrimonial feelings piloted by Daniel Fabre ( 2013 ).
Emotions and indifference to Europe. When young people get involved (or don’t)
This communication addresses the issue of the role of citizens’ emotions in their relationship to Europe, in a context where European studies have paid little attention to it. For sure, after 1992 (and the difficult ratification of the Maastricht Treaty), and especially after 2005 (and the failure of the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty), questions about the « legitimacy » of the European project became crucial; so were the questions of citizens’ attachment and identification to Europe. In particular, the assumption that a sense of belonging to Europe was overall missing was brought into the picture. However, this lack of attachment remains poorly understood through Eurobarometer surveys, which fall into the trap of the opposition – denounced by Norbert Elias – between reason and feeling. At the same time, the question of citizens’ indifference to Europe has been little investigated as the dichotomous theoretical framework distinguishing « support versus rejection » has been dominating, following studies on Euroscepticism. As part of a collaborative research program on EU social acceptance, six focus groups gathering four to seven young people (aged 16-26 years) were organized in 2013-2014 in different neighborhood of Brussels. They provide another angle on these issues. This study assumes that a political order can claim on legitimacy only if citizens rely on the representations they have of this order (Weber). From there, we will try to show that the « identification of individual emotional imprints » is not only useful to account for strong political commitments. It is also essential in order to analyze and understand forms of disengagement and withdrawal that prove irreducible to the absence of emotions to Europe, and sometimes consistent with a deep knowledge of « what we are talking about. »
Human Rights Organization Cimade in French Immigration Detention Centers
This communication will reexamine the social production and management of emotions in the particular case of lawyers from a Human Rights organization who run legal clinics inside French immigration detention centers (known as centres de rétention administrative, CRAs). These actors are indeed immediately caught in a tension between two conflicting loyalties: there are first actors of a public policy and official employees of an institution, who as such have to abide by its regulations. But they are also advocates who profess an all-time involvement in favor of deportable immigrants, whose activities and legal or illegal practices they come to know through their work. The intervention will draw on ethnographic fieldwork conducted inside a detention center to study the particular emotional production that results from this ambiguous situation, and the “emotional work” which thus proves necessary to counter or curb these emotions in the lawyers’ everyday activity. Social backgrounds and professional socializations play an important role in this emotion management; but the presentation will insist on its connection with the material and organizational dimensions of the lawyer’s work – the way desks are designed, the recent focus on “humanitarian” empathy and the urge to get closer to the public. The aim is thus to draw general conclusions on the connection between emotional production and the institutional context of government activity.
Teachers in Resistance
This paper aims to show how emotions can explain teachers’ resistance – in various forms – during the Vichy regime. We will see that the political commitment of teachers is correlated to strong « emotional imprints », attached to important classical sociological traditions: interactionist and deterministic. Resistant teachers seem to follow a « career » within the meaning of the concept developed by Howard Becker: the encounter with a person already initiated and « catalyzing » event seem decisive to become resistant. But these events are correlated to major emotional markers: they cause a real upheaval among teachers. We will see the case of Bernard Brou, entered in resistance after the « fascinating » meeting of Gaby. We will also see the case of Alix Lataillade, become resistant after the arrest of three Jewish children in her class. However, faced with the same risk or the same opportunity, teachers do not react in the same way. So, study their social characteristics was important. And, again, social determinants are linked to significant emotional imprints: indeed, the entry to resistance can explain as a form of self-affirmation to compensate for the feeling of downgrading, family breakdown, or professional failure, so a social unrest. We will see the example of Jean Doudin, downgraded teacher, become resistant.
An Electoral Campaign
“Ordinary” electoral campaigns are sometimes presented as deprived of emotions. By ethnographically analyzing a local campaign in Paris, we observed, on the contrary, the frequency of their presence. Three main phenomena were visible: first, the importance of “low-intensity” jubilation, the most visible form of passions in the framework of that campaign; Second, the numerous effects of emotions on the dramaturgy of the campaigns of the different lists, which build themselves around very diverse tensions, dramatizations, sufferings, joys, fears, hatreds and angers; Third, the emergence of “new” emotions linked to new technologies and new media.
The catalan identity in North of the Pyrenees
Since the 2000s, mobilization identity referents seems make a consensus in the department of Pyrenees-Orientales. At this time, a failover occurs : « magnetize » » by the economic growth of Catalonia proud of his identity, politicians begin a process to awaken the sense of identity. It is to create a collective identity, making a cross-border « imaginary territory », to bring out an « emotional community » (B. Anderson) defined in part against the old order. The politicians trying to compensate in psychosocial terms the effects of endemic underdevelopment and fascination/repulsion from the « older brother » of the South. The identity conveys a kind of re-enchantment of local governement. Because it involves the existential construction of the subject, in relation to space and time, the « politicy of identity » is a « policy of emotions » ; using the identity and territorial symbols returns to mobilize the emotional register. The aim of this paper is to analyse the emotional anchor of a policy of identity at the territorial level.
The role of emotions in FARC guerrilla fighter’s violent engagement
Traditional explanations for armed violence (e.g. realist approaches, rational choice theory, and struggle for existence) are not sufficient to explain the longevity of Colombia’s conflict or the FARC fighters’ engagement to armed violence. For these reason, it seemed necessary to try a different approach to study guerrilla actions that takes into consideration: subjective, symbolic and moral elements and the role of emotions in the resorting to violence. In this paper, I will discuss the place of emotional imprinting in the mobilisation of FARC guerrilla fighters. In order to do so, on the first part of this document, I will focus on the study of former guerrilla’s language practices. There are linguistic markers of emotions that can be detected through discourse analysis. In the second part, I will describe some guerrilla fighters’ biographical backgrounds to identify their socialisation and radicalisation process. I will explore questions like “what are the main biographical elements that allow us to understand why they chose violent mechanisms to defend a cause?” or “which are the links between emotionally charged events and violent radicalization?”
To govern the feelings?
Nantes’ ambitious Memorial to the abolition of slavery was created in 2012. Implanted in a city that used to be France’s major slave trade port, it is the only monument of this size and importance in Europe. This contribution deals with the emotional dimension of this gesture of official remembering: guilt, compassion for the victims, recognition for their descendants, and a sense of pride for the abolition are all messages embedded in the monument. We analyze how various actors (politicians, memory entrepreneurs, artists) have defended their preferences with regards to the legitimate collective emotion associated to slavery, and how these sometimes opposite visions translate into the symbolic and esthetical codes of the memorial. We thus highlight that this public action involves the creation and diffusion of an “official emotion”, which however struggles to impose its preeminence over other visions of the past.
The musical feelings in the political communication
Music, because of its ability to bring together emotions through rituals, is one of the most common symbolic tools used in strategies for producing and legitimizing the imaginary in order to produce and structure emotions (such as belonging, well-being, as well as social, political, and cultural identities).The increasing use of that medium in political communication and marketing leads usto question the opposition between, on one hand, the use of music as a marketing tool to arouse emotions and on the other hand the use of musical emotions to producean overarching narrativeof the common good. Based on audiovisual archives (campaign clips and music tracks) from French presidential election campaigns (from 1981 to 2012) the presentation aims at demonstrating why resorting to the emotional system, thanks to music, can participate in producing grand narratives of the common good.
Fabienne Martin-Juchat – GRESEC Université de Grenoble – Alpes / Thierry Ménissier – Philosophie Langages & Cognition, Université de Grenoble – Alpes
What political « power » for the emotional capitalism?
In the modernity, politics was thought from the ideological prism of the communicationnel habermassien model: because it is defined as a rational being endowed with language and as far as it enjoys faculties of his understanding, the human individual would be in capacity to determine rules allowing him to act in a straight and just way, from the ethics of the discussion. In the contemporary period, this theory of the public place, if it was criticized, made base the political capacities on the power of the dialectical and dialogical subject capable of making decisions on the relationship between the means and the purposes from the strength of an argumentation. She was not thus able to plan the political power of the capitalism by her capacity to build and to get the affects of the collectives. The addicting and daily intensive use of ICTS in a regime of multi-activities (Dumas, Martin-Juchat, Pierre 2014) by the said generation Y is dominated by logics of emotional ambivalence between confessions of dependence and desire of autonomy. So that the politics, such as it was defined from the modern and contemporary theories, seems inappropriate to arrest » the transformations of the intimacy » (Giddens on 2004) as well as » the feelings in the era of the capitalism » (Illouz on 2006), which show themselves in a dynamics of commodification of affects by the digital communication (Martin-Juchat, 2014). The user of ICTS seems literally in search of his political identity. This contribution aims at drawing the relevant political forms for the contemporary use of ICTS with the prospect of a political anthropology worried of thinking of the human condition compared to its activity, with the prospect of a notion of « power » which it is necessary to rethink by resuming the concept of » power « , in Arendt on 2012) and with the aim of the necessary redefining of the public place and the role of institutions in the context of the massive use of ICTS (Ménissier on 2011 and 2014). From a presentation of results of a recent study on the emotional practices of the digital technology by the generation Y and of the type of questionings whom they raise, we shall center our subject on the redefining of the private, public, professional spaces, in the era of the affectivisation of the practices.
Mayors against a reform
This communication aims at shedding light on the mobilization of mayors committed to localized protest actions – here, against the integration of their municipalities within metropolitan governance. Three proposals, more programmatic than conclusive, are here submitted for discussion. The interviews carried out with the most committed mayors first lend credence to the assumption that the propensity for the elected officials to feel and use emotions is socially differentiated, and correlated to their track record and position in the municipal space: this will be all the keener as their political career is strongly enshrined therein. The rewards associated to their term however are not enough to account for their strong commitment. Only a detour into the personal histories of these officials makes it possible to identify a predisposition to feeling indignation over the plight of their communes. The political use of these ties is anything but straightforward. To be rallying, the accounts of communal engagement have to chime with localized configurations, inherited from the social history of the sites and of their settlement. They ought to be indexed to trials (acts, postures, self-management skills) that not all elected officials are in a position to carry out.
The emotional foundations of human behaviour : The homo emoticus hypothesis
This paper presents a new anthropological model for political science that we call « homo emoticus ». According to Alfred Adler, human behaviour is determined by a never ending struggle against inferiority feelings which lead, following a process of overcompensation, to desire might or superiority. We show that inferiority feelings have indeed four major dimensions: insecurity linked to the physical vulnerability, which gives birth to fear ; lessening linked to the psychological inferiority, which causes envy ; smallness linked to the perfectibility, which provokes admiration ; and, finally, filiality linked to the dependency, which engenders filial piety. These four feelings are triggered respectively by one extraordinary phenomenon : danger, obstacle, perfection and gift, which give birth respectively to worries of self conservation, self esteem, self ideal and self origin. The subject develops a life style with four major goals : security, superiority, perfection and filiation. Fear, envy, admiration and filial piety are the emotions which shape the guidelines of human behaviour. They enable to describe the four major steps of the encounter with the other, depending on whether the subject perceives the other as a danger, an obstacle, a perfection or a gift, explaining consequently how friendship, hostility and violence emerge. These emotions reveal the major motives of political association : a common danger, a common obstacle, a common perfection or a common gift. They also explain attachment behaviours to a superior figure, depending on whether the subject is scared (than he need a protector), he envies (he needs a magician), he admires (he found a hero) or he is grateful (he found a father). With these four faces of Homo emoticus, Homo timidus, Homo invidus, Homo admirator and Homo pius, it is possible to describe human behaviour in most of situations in life.
Mobilized by feelings, to mobilize the feelings
The study of active victims in public health scandals makes us consider the deep link between this form of collective action and the thematic of emotions. Indeed they constitute a reason of taking a part in collective action. But these emotions also support the creation of groups of victims, in which individuals meet peers and realize the extent of the injustice experienced. Emotions then increase a sense of belonging , strengthen the collective identity of the group of victims and their socialization (Broqua, Fillieule, 2009). The emotions can finally influence the mobilization. They are also influenced by the collective action: the mobilizations can channel or reinforce emotions (Braud, 1996, 8). Indeed the role of activist associations of victims is to raise awareness their cause, that is to say to create a moral or political concern about that issue (Traïni, Siméant, 2009). The active victims operate ultimately a formatting of emotions: they collect them and rework them. Emotions in the associations of victims are neither raw feelings or strategic orchestration. Related to a victimization process, they can support a commitment in a collective action. The rhetoric of these victims and their way to publicizing the cause can also integrate and revisit these emotions. Based on the study of the scandal of Diethylstilbestrol (DES) and a comparison of the three associations of victims (« Réseau DES », « Les Filles DES » and « HHORAGES » (Stop the Artificial Hormones for pregnancies)), this work aims to demonstrate how an analysis by the emotions of associations of victims allows to articulate the mechanisms of individual commitments and the logic of collective mobilizations of these public health victims. Finally, we are seeking to understand how emotions allow to analyze the mutual interactions between collective and individual experiences, collective victimization, cause and public health problem.
The role of emotions in opinion-building during childhood
What role do emotive phenomena play in the formation of political opinions? Socializing agents are not only sources of information. They also are “structures of feelings” (Maurer 2000) that transmit to children both cognitive and emotional knowledge, which play a major role in their identification process. Analyzing emotions allows focusing on the affective dimension of the transmission and creation of political opinions. This communication will present the analysis of interviews conducted with children aged 8 to 11 years old. Some of the interviews have taken place right after the events of Charlie Hebdo, which have produced diverse strong emotional reactions. This communication will question the contribution of the sociology of emotions for studying the opinion-building process. Indeed, at the junction between psychological outputs and social constructs, emotions can be observed at three different levels in this process: 1) emotional experiences can influence the constitution of opinions or even produce opinions; 2) emotions can be a result of opinions (i.e. opinions can trigger emotions); 3) emotions can be used in order to justify or to share one’s opinion.
Crying for ruling : rhetoric of tears and celebration of social order in the Burgundian State (14th – 15th centuries)
At the end of the 14th century, new motives for the expression of pain in which tears play a substantial part, were developed in western art. T. Todorov attributes the first pictorial performance of tears to Rogier van der Weyden (Descent from the Cross – Prado museum). In the next century, they are object of artistic focus, also promoted by Devotio moderna. Between outstanding expressiveness of the Homeric hero, crying as vigorously as he fights, and the ideal of serene majesty, the ruler’s habitus comes to be influenced by this double legitimity, to which may be added the motives of epic and chivalric literature, particularly influential at the Burgundian court, claiming for the expressiveness of suffering for its heroic figures. More than a sign of sadness, tears may be elevated to a rulership practice, therefore subjected to narrow attention. There are few reasons to shed tears, and they are always more pragmatic than « sentimental ». Even the mourning activated by the death of a famous knight concerns the consecutive weakened military potential and the symbolic collapse of a chivalrous ideal more than the end of a human life and the worry for its salute. Besides, crying at that specific moment may appear as a relevant via media between transgressive anger and demonstrative pain which either drive to overreaction or lack of reaction. It it is thus allowed for the prince to cry, but he must do it within particular circumstances, in a moderate and temporary way. Crying also aimed at federating around the prince’s body, so that an emotional community of pain may emerge, to confirm and celebrate social order into a « lachrymal communication ». The ruler’s controlled pain finds an echo in the unanimous and demonstrative tears of the court, contributing to a liquid atmosphere yet preserving his dignity, keeping his eyes dry if necessary. In the arsenal of conviction, tears may also emphasize the climax of the speech and provide support to the orator, as the audience finds in its own emotional burst the best confirmation of contractual love. Nobody is fooled by the performance, but each one plays his role. As a last resort, when tears are no more sufficient, the macrocosm may be summoned to validate the disruption or recovery of social order. Beyond personal experience, we must acknowledge a practice of tears. The question of the truth of tears and their value as emotives arises. It is often difficult to answer this question and make the difference between narrative strategies and « sincere » emotion. The important issue might not be to determine if the rulers « really » cried but why it was necessary and relevant for him to do so in a particular context which is to be carefully studied, considering the emotional frame assimilated by narrators. Apart from the individual characters of the princes’ temperament, we may also be informed about the specificity of a cultural « suffering device ».
The politicization of sensibilities. A perspective from the protection of animals.
This communication questions the distance existing between the commitment to the protection of animals and more specifically political forms of engagement. The protectors of animals can be related to the forms of activism in which political science is generally interested only when it is possible to observe a combination of heterogeneous affective aptitudes: on the one hand a sensibility to the plight of animals, on the other hand a taste for discursive proselytism and, last but not least, an inclination to excitations resulting from involvement in a fight. Finally, this perspective from the animal protection gives the opportunity to formulate a hypothesis regarding the affective dimensions of the more conventional forms of politics. Far from requiring only the mastery of cognitive skills, political engagements require a propensity to actions that make it possible to feel agonistic affective states through discursive exchanges.
The sensibilities of the sensitive districts
If emotions are « particular » (Papermann), perhaps « profane » (Battegay et al.), how do they politically equip Civil Society? Remembering Hume (featuring a politics of passions), the couple politicization / cristallization (Trépos) helps us to measure the tactics embedded in the “devices of passion” (underpinning paltry causes, despairs and irony, low noise indignations, building invisibility), when confronted to institutional ones. In order to avoid an approach a little too naturalistic, we consider the emotion as: a reaction – width modulated – to differentiations among perspectives or expectations (Livet); working the relationship as well as worked by it (Quéré); rational as well as irrational (Damasio); an appraisal transaction inside an environment, even close to the heart of reflexivity (I. Burkitt); one way for the management of social spaces ruled by pluralistic norms (Aranguren, Tonnelat). Keeping Goffman as a regulatory horizon (the repair work), we try to underline continuities borne by attachments (Callon) and affinities (Manning, Holmes), by lightening their bonding/bridging passages (J. Law). We then introduce a dialectics between weak and scenic emotions (Aranguren, Tonnelat), which design paths between social forms of control of emotional labour (Hochschild), i.e. the meshing of domestic dimensions (where cura, eros and agapè may compete), private care labour (K. Lynch’s “love labour”) and public dimensions (the common use of “care”). At an upper level, we also need to link them to the “awareness-raising devices” (Traïni). Several answers here, from a survey in the Région Lorraine: interviews, photo-elicitation, mental maps and focus groups with 110 inhabitants of four priority neighbourhoods. We identify places and moments where the attachment are nurtured (the lived neighbourhood), materials of the contained reactivity (at the borders of intimacy: joys, prides, fears, shames, rages), modalities of public cristallization (consumption of common goods, solidarities, civic practices, silent or ironic exits, rants). The results show emerging generational gaps, more or less hidden by forms of liquid coexistence (Bauman), between some who feel to be settled, others in transit, other becalmed. Should they be makeshift jobs or functional misunderstandings (as, for instance, “tolerance” may be an a priori principle for natives and an a posteriori kindness – Sa Ma Ha – for immigrants), weak communities of emotion remain possible as a way to Polity.
In front of terrorist attacks
The surge of collective emotion that goes through a society suffering a terrorist attack is most of the time reported to the reaffirmation of a sense of national belonging. Mass demonstrations observed in France in the wake of terrorists attacks of January 2015, for example, has been interpreted as manifestation of “national unity”. A sociological inquiry paying attention to what ordinary citizens really express in such moment of collective effervescence reveals nevertheless that this national feeling is just a dimension among other of a much more complex array of impersonal feelings of belonging, whose nature and scale vary, and more personal feelings, that draw people to express their solidarity with the victims at the first-person singular, rather than plural. This communication will focus mainly on this individualistic impulse of popular reactions to terrorist attack, of which the slogan “Je suis Charlie” is now became the symbol. Based on the study of tends of thousands of messages written by ordinary people in reaction to September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, as well as to Madrid and London bombings (March 11, 2004 and July 7, 2005), it will highlight what sociological factors foster its activation.