The development of a sociology of emotions is crucial to our understanding of social life. Emotions are 'social things', they are controlled and managed in our everyday lives and transcend the divides between mind and body, nature and culture, structure and action. In this way, they hold a crucial key to our understanding of social processes and can push forward the boundaries of sociological investigation. Yet the dominance of rationality in Western (masculinist) social thought has led to the relative neglect of emotions as 'irrational', private, inner sensations which have been tied to women's 'hysterical bodies'. In this sense, emotions are seen to be the very antithesis of the detached scientific mind and its quest for 'objectivity'. However as the course of human history has testified, crucial implications stem from the separation of reason and feeling.
Emotions have fundamental implications for all pertinent sociological themes and issues, in particular, social action and social identity, gender, sexuality and intimacy, the embodiment of emotions across the life-course (from childhood to old age), health and illness, and the social organisation of emotions in the workplace. Unique and timely, Emotions in Social Life acts to consolidate the sociology of emotions as a legitimate and viable field of enquiry. It provides a comprehensive 'state of the art' assessment of the sociology of emotions drawing upon work from scholars of international stature, as well as newer writers in the field. It presents new empirical research in conjunction with innovative and challenging theoretical material, and will be essential reading for students of medical sociology, health psychology as well as gender studies. Gillian Bendelow, University of Warwick, UK, Debra Bone, University of California, USA, Nick Crossley, University of Sheffield, UK, Norman Denzin, Jean Duncombe, Simon Forrest,