Emotions are back. Once at the center of the study of politics, emotions have receded into the shadows during the past three decades, with no place in the rationalistic, structural, and organizational models that dominate academic political analysis. With this new collection of essays, Jeff Goodwin, James M. Jasper, and Francesca Polletta reverse this trend, reincorporating emotions such as anger, indignation, fear, disgust, joy, and love into research on politics and social protest. The tools of cultural analysis are especially useful for probing the role of emotions in politics, the editors and contributors to Passionate Politics argue. Moral outrage, the shame of spoiled collective identities, or the joy of imagining a new and better society are not automatic responses to events. Rather, they are related to moral intuitions, felt obligations and rights, and information about expected effects, all of which are culturally and historically variable.
With its look at the history of emotions in social thought, examination of the internal dynamics of protest groups, and exploration of the emotional dynamics that arise from interactions and conflicts among political factions and individuals, Passionate Politics will lead the way toward an overdue reconsideration of the role of emotions in social movements and politics generally.