1st Edition

Cultural Approaches to Disgust and the Visceral

Edited By Max Ryynänen, Heidi Kosonen, Susanne Ylönen Copyright 2023
    242 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited volume traces cultural appearances of disgust and investigates the varied forms and functions disgust takes and is given in both established and vernacular cultural practices.

    Contributors focus on the socio-cultural creation, consumption, reception, and experience of disgust, a visceral emotion whose cultural situatedness and circulation has historically been overlooked in academic scholarship. Chapters challenge and supplement the biological understanding of disgust as a danger reaction and as a base emotion evoked by the lower senses, touch, taste and smell, through a wealth of original case studies in which disgust is analyzed in its aesthetic qualities, and in its cultural and artistic appearances and uses, featuring visual and aural media.

    Because it is interdisciplinary, the book will be of interest to scholars in a wide range of fields, including visual studies, philosophy, aesthetics, sociology, history, literature, and musicology.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    1. From Visceral to the Aesthetic: Tracing Disgust in Contemporary Culture

    Max Ryynänen, Heidi S. Kosonen, and Susanne C. Ylönen

    SECTION I: Aesthetic Approaches to Disgust

    2. Overcoming Disgust: Why, When, and Whether

    Carolyn Korsmeyer

    3. The Affective Nature of Horror

    Filippo Contesi

    4. Illustrating Disgust as an Aesthetic Sentiment: Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra and Abhinavagupta’s Abhinavabhāratī

    S. Bhuvaneshwari

    SECTION II: Disgust and Othering

    5. "Childish, Self-Centered, and Cruel": Classed Disgust, Maternal Complaint, and Mediated Morality in an Anonymous Online Discussion Board

    Armi Mustosmäki and Tiina Sihto

    6. Performing Disgust: Affective Intersections of Misogyny, Racism, and Homophobia in Radical-Right Online Discussion

    Tuija Saresma and Urho Tulonen

    7. The Yuck Factor: Reiterating Insect-Eating (and Otherness) Through Disgust

    Heidi S. Kosonen

    SECTION III: Foodways and Disgust

    8. Disgust by Association: Date Labelling, Standardization, and Freshness

    Tanja Plasil

    9. "We Did Not Shrink From Eating Carrion": Food Disgust And Early Soviet Famines

    Rebecca Manley and Iryna Skubii

    10. Cannibals and Kin: Escaping the Disgusting in Newfoundland Fairy Tales

    Pauline Greenhill and Diane Tye

    SECTION IV: Engaging with Disgust in Music and Visual Culture

    11. "The Kind of Music that Makes My Skin Crawl": Disgust Associated with Musical Experiences

    Henna-Riikka Peltola

    12. Music to Vomit to: The Dubstep Drop, the Bass Face, and the Sound of the Social Web

    Edward K. Spencer

    13. Generative Disgust, Aesthetic Engagement, and Community

    Erin Bradfield

    SECTION V: Disgust, Laughter, and Pleasure

    14. Producing Disgust: Profanation, the Carnivalesque, and Queering as Keys for Understanding the Unsettling Pop Cultural Performance of Die Antwoord

    Susanne C. Ylönen

    15. Mortal Bodies, Disgust, and Affective Incongruity in Stand-Up Comedy

    Outi Hakola

    16. A Cultural Approach to Sex-Related Disgust: Rethinking Shunga and Other "Perversions" in the 21st Century

    Hiroshi Yoshioka


    Max Ryynänen is Senior Lecturer of Theory of Visual Culture at Aalto University.

    Heidi S. Kosonen is Post-Doctoral Scholar at the Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä

    Susanne C. Ylönen is Post-Doctoral Scholar at the Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä.