The sociology of emotions: A meta-reflexive review of a theoretical tradition in flux

Rebecca E. Olson*, Jordan J. McKenzie, Roger Patulny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Based in a novel ‘meta-reflexive’ review of sociology of emotions (SoE) articles, we suggest that there are two primary SoE theoretical traditions that function within geographic silos: the USA is distinctly social psychological, while in the UK and Australia, SoE is more aligned with the humanities. In both traditions, parallel calls are emerging for interdisciplinarity and further engagement with physiological and pre-personal elements of emotion. Based in Archer’s and Bourdieu’s concepts of reflexivity, we assert the merits of reflexively examining SoE, and then identify key changes in SoE that have emerged across time and geography. Using Kuhn’s work on paradigm shifts, we conclude that SoE is entering a stage of growth and change, and raise important questions about the subdiscipline’s future direction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-818
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number4
Early online date18 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • emotions
  • reflexivity
  • sociology
  • sociology of emotions
  • systematic review


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