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Friday, 26 December 2008

A reading list pt1

I have been fortunate recently to have been in email conversation with Keith Oatley, author "Emotions: A Brief History".

He has been patiently and kindly talking me through some of the parameters of the field and helping me see what's out there in the way of research. Whilst i knew a little of the broad themes upon which he elaborated, his years of experience and erudition leave me blushing at my ignorance - anyone who knows me knows this is not something i do often.

Here amongst others is a reading list by him of suggested works I should have a look at. It covers anthropology, psychology, literary criticism and other fields. Such is the nature of this nascent field of the History of the Emotions.

If anyone has read any of these works and cares to give an opinion I should be most grateful. I'll post thge full list over a couple of posts, it's quite long though there's some fascinating books there.

From anthropology:
A society apparently without emotions:
Howell, S. (1981). Rules not words. In P. H. A. Lock (Ed.), Indigenous psychologies: The anthropology of the self (pp. 133-143). London: Academic Press.

A society in which no-one gets angry:
Briggs, J. L. (1970). Never in anger: Portrait of an Eskimo family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

A society in which people are angry a lot of the time:
Chagnon, N. A. (1968). Yanomamö: The fierce people. New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston.

How societies, and their communal emotional qualities, can be destroyed by Western colonialism and modernization, e.g.
Turnbull, C. M. (1973). Human nature and primal man. Social Research, 40, 511-530.

A society living in the way in which it is thought that all our human ancestors mostly lived until urbanization began around 10,000 years ago:
Thomas, E. M. (1989). The harmless people (revised edition). New York: Random House.

Nowadays, with globalization we live in a world that is becoming more homogeneous. Some common emotional characteristic are satisfaction in relationships, even in the worst circumstances:
Biswas-Diener, R., & Diener, E. (2001). Making the best of a bad situation: satisfaction in the slums of Calcutta. Social Indicators Research, 55, 329-352.

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