Emotion work in animal rights activism

Emotion work in animal rights activism
A moral-sociological perspective

From Acta Sociologica

Social movement activism is often taxing on the individual activists who must cope with the emotional costs that their activism involves. Such activism requires emotional motivation and entails emotional costs, and, because of this, activists tend to be deeply involved in the management of emotions. Based on a case study of animal rights activism in Sweden, this article identifies various types of emotion work carried out by animal rights activists. This paper argues that, to better understand the role and significance of emotions and emotional processes in social movements, a perspective anchored in a Durkheimian sociology of morals and, in particular, its key concepts of norms and ideals is useful. Activists need to be emotionally competent, and what future research needs to tackle is the question of when and why emotion work in social movement succeeds and in what contexts it is likely.

 

Abstract

 

Social movement activism requires emotional motivation and entails emotional costs, and, because of this, activists tend to be deeply involved in the management of emotions – or emotion work – and not just in connection with protest events, but also on an everyday basis. Based on a case study of animal rights activism in Sweden, this article identifies five types of emotion work that animal rights activists typically perform: containing, ventilation, ritualization, micro-shocking and normalization of guilt. The emotion work performed by activists, it is argued, is best understood from a moral-sociological perspective building on Durkheim’s sociology of morality, based on which the article then outlines key elements of a comprehensive theoretical framework for the study of emotion work in social movements.

 

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 Article details 

Kerstin Jacobsson (2013). Emotion work in animal rights activism A moral-sociological perspective

Acta Sociologica, 56 (1) DOI: 10.1177/0001699312466180

     
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