1st Edition

The Political Sociology of Emotions Essays on Trauma and Ressentiment

By Nicolas Demertzis Copyright 2020
    266 Pages
    by Routledge

    266 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Political Sociology of Emotions articulates the political sociology of emotions as a sub-field of emotions sociology in relation to cognate disciplines and sub-disciplines.

    Far from reducing politics to affectivity, the political sociology of emotions is coterminous with political sociology itself plus the emotive angle added in the investigation of its traditional and more recent areas of research. The worldwide predominance of affective anti-politics (e.g., the securitization of immigration policies, reactionism, terrorism, competitive authoritarianism, nationalism and populism, etc.) makes the political sociology of emotions increasingly necessary in making the prospects of democracy and republicanism in the twenty-first century more intelligible.

    Through a weak constructionist theoretical perspective, the book shows the utility of this new sub-field by addressing two central themes: trauma and ressentiment. Trauma is considered as a key cultural-political phenomenon of our times, evoking both negative and positive emotions; ressentiment is a pertaining individual and collective political emotion allied to insecurities and moral injuries. In tandem, they constitute fundamental experiences of late modern times. The value of the political sociology of emotions is revealed in the analysis of civil wars, cultural traumas, the politics of pity, the suffering of distant others in the media, populism, and national identities on both sides of the Atlantic.

    1. Τhe Political Sociology of Emotions: An Outline

    Part I. The Politics of Trauma

    2. On Trauma and Cultural Trauma

    3. The Civil War(s) Trauma

    4. Mediatizing Traumatic Experience and the Emotions

    5. Trauma and the Politics of Forgiveness

    Part II. The Politics of Ressentiment

    6. On Resentment, Ressentiment, and Political Action

    7. Populism and the Emotions

    8. The Emotionality of the Nation-State



    Nicolas Demertzis is Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Director of the National Centre for Social Research (EKKE). His research focuses on political sociology, cultural sociology, political communication, and emotions sociology. He edited Emotions in Politics. The Affect Dimension in Political Tension (2013).

    "This remarkable book, informed by unusually wide-ranging and sophisticated scholarship, is theoretically highly creative. Demertzis makes cultural trauma central to a political sociology of emotions, demonstrates how ressentiment illuminates populism and nationalism, and explains how forgiveness can be a key psychological-cum-moral action for rebuilding the fractured solidarities that threaten contemporary society." 

    — Jeffrey C. Alexander, Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology, Yale University, USA.

    "In this work of wide-ranging and deep scholarship, Nicolas Demertzis provides a foundational text for the emergent field of the political sociology of the emotions. At the same time, in his rich analyses of the concepts of cultural trauma and ressentiment, and in their application to Greece, he draws not only on history but on philosophy and psychoanalysis, and shows how interdisciplinary work is central to the understanding of today's major issues. Anyone studying the emotional bases of politics will have much to learn from this book."

    — Barry Richards, Professor of Political Psychology, Bournemouth University, UK.