The Emerald Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions for a Post-Pandemic World

ISBN: 978-1-80382-324-9, eISBN: 978-1-80382-323-2

Publication date: 14 April 2023


(2023), "Prelims", Ward, P.R. and Foley, K. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions for a Post-Pandemic World, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xvii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Paul R. Ward and Kristen Foley. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited

Half Title Page

The Emerald Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions for a Post-Pandemic World

Title Page

The Emerald Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions for a Post-Pandemic World: Imagined Emotions and Emotional Futures

Edited By

Paul R. Ward

Research Centre for Public Health, Equity and Human Flourishing, Torrens University Australia


Kristen Foley

Research Centre for Public Health, Equity and Human Flourishing, Torrens University Australia

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

Copyright Page

Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2023

Editorial matter and selection © 2023 Paul R. Ward and Kristen Foley.

Individual chapters © 2023 The authors.

Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited.

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No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without either the prior written permission of the publisher or a licence permitting restricted copying issued in the UK by The Copyright Licensing Agency and in the USA by The Copyright Clearance Center. Any opinions expressed in the chapters are those of the authors. Whilst Emerald makes every effort to ensure the quality and accuracy of its content, Emerald makes no representation implied or otherwise, as to the chapters' suitability and application and disclaims any warranties, express or implied, to their use.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-80382-324-9 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-80382-323-2 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-80382-325-6 (Epub)

List of Figures and Tables

Chapter 12
Figure 1. The Attitude System in the Appraisal Framework.
Figure 2. Example Semantic Annotation Using USAS Tagger.
Figure 3. Example Appraisal Analysis of Survey Response.
Chapter 14
Image 1. Comehonduras, Choluteca (Honduraseat).
Image 2. Ejercitodesalvacionmexico (Salvation army Mexico).
Image 3. Let's Help Panama.
Image 4. Ayudanos_a_ayudar_cr (Help us to Help Costa Rica).
Image 5. manosolidariaelsalvador, Canton Las Delicias San Martin (Solidarity Hand El Salvador).
Image 6. #
Chapter 9
Table 1. Focused Codes/Themes.
Chapter 12
Table 1. Respondents' Demographic Information.
Table 2. Discourse Fields From Corpus Data Sorted by Frequency.
Table 3. Quantification of Appraisal Analysis.
Table 4. USAS Discourse Fields and Their Co-occurrence With Attitude Sub-Systems.
Chapter 13
Table 1. Characteristics of Participants.

About the Contributors

Krystine Irene Batcho is Professor of Psychology at Le Moyne College, USA. Her scholarly pursuits have explored relationships among memory, emotion and psychological well-being. With a primary focus on nostalgia, her research interests have included memory, emotion, identity, resistance, coping, childhood happiness and the psychological impact of stories.

Patrick Brown is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam and Director of the research group on Political Sociology. He is the Editor of the journal Health, Risk & Society. Patrick's research mainly focuses upon social processes by which individuals, groups and organisations cope with vulnerability and uncertainty – including risk, trust, hope, rituals and faith, among others – and the way these processes shape one another, wider organisational dynamics and the everyday practices of professionals and patients. He has published widely on these topics, including the 2021 book On Vulnerability: A Critical Introduction.

Dr Stella Bullo is a Visiting Lecturer at Plymouth Marjon University, UK. Her research is in the area of health communication investigating discourses of women's health, endometriosis, pain communication and cross-cultural discourses of health.

Dr Marianne Clark is an Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Acadia University, Canada. Her research interests include girls' and women's health with a focus on embodiment as well as the intersections of physical and digital cultures. She is the co-author of Feminist New Materialisms, Sport and Fitness: A Lively Entanglement (Palgrave MacMillan 2020) and The Face Mask in COVID Times: A Sociomaterial Analysis (De Gruyter, 2021). Her research has been published in New Media & Society, Health, BioSocieties and Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health.

Marci D. Cottingham is Associate Professor of Sociology at Kenyon College, USA. She was previously associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and a visiting fellow at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany from 2019 to 2020. Her research focuses on the sociology of emotion, social inequalities, and health and healthcare. Her book, Practical Feelings: Emotions as Resources in a Dynamic Social World, was published in 2022 by Oxford University Press. In it, she traces emotions across work, leisure, social media and politics, countering old myths to show how emotions are practical resources for tackling individual and collective challenges.

Kristen Foley is a Researcher and Doctoral Candidate at Torrens University Australia. An emerging social scientist with an interest in human flourishing, her doctoral work hinges these interests to feminist questions around care, commercialisation, consumption and contemporary knowledge economies.

Patrick Gamsby is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada. He holds a PhD from Laurentian University, is the author of Henri Lefebvre, Boredom, and Everyday Life (Lexington Books, 2022) and is currently working on a book titled The Discourse of Scholarly Communication.

Dr Jasmine Hearn is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on managing long-term health conditions such as spinal cord injury and chronic pain, and pain communication.

Michael Hviid Jacobsen is Professor of Sociology at Aalborg University, Denmark. In his research, he explores theoretical and empirical issues across social theory, the sociology of death, crime, social psychology, emotions, ethics, ethnography, interaction, metaphors, poetic sociology, utopias and qualitative methods. He is the editor of The Poetics of Crime, Nostalgia Now, Postmortal Society, The Contemporary Goffman and Critical and Cultural Interactionism, and co-editor of The Sociology of Zygmunt Bauman, Encountering the Everyday, The Transformation of Modernity, Utopia: Social Theory and the Future, Liquid Criminology, Imaginative Methodologies: The Poetic Imagination in the Social Sciences, Towards a Criminology of Emotions, Exploring Grief: Towards a Sociology of Sorrow and Death in Contemporary Popular Culture.

Belinda Lunnay is a Post Doctoral researcher who has established a career applying sociological theory to understand the effects of social class on health-related decision-making. She has expertise in using qualitative methodologies to explore class disparities in the moralistic and affective aspects of gendered practices of consumption.

Amir Marvasti is Professor of Sociology at Penn State University, Altoona, USA. His research focuses on the social construction of identity in everyday encounters and institutional settings. He also has an active publication record on the pedagogy of qualitative research. His books in this area include Qualitative Research in Sociology (Sage, 2004), Doing Qualitative Research: A Comprehensive Guide (with David Silverman, Sage, 2008) and Researching Social Problems (with Javier Treviño, Routledge, 2019).

Poul Poder is Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His primary research and teaching interests concern sociological theory, sociology of emotions, violence, conflict, friendship and love. He co-edited a recent book Resolving International Conflict: Dynamics of Escalation, Continuation and Transformation (2019). This book suggests a new framework for understanding conflict as a particular form of situation, interaction and tension; variously influenced by emotions such as humiliation in our globalised world. His work on humiliation also extends to conceptualising daily suffering in social life, published in Alleviating World Suffering: The Challenge of Negative Quality of Life (2017 edited by Anderson, R) and his most recent writing on “The end of contemporary love” discusses whether we find ourselves in a dissolution or a democratisation of love. He further has contributed to the theoretical development of ‘caring collectives’ which emerge during moments of urban violence, and advances thinking about what bystanders do in situations of violence (Bloch, Liebst, Poder, Christiansen, & Heinskou, 2018).

Christopher Raymond, DrPH, MPH, is a public health professional working in the Asia-Pacific region on large-scale health projects around infectious disease control, pharmaceutical quality and conducting social science research around health policy, local knowledge, religion and health equity. He has worked with bilateral and multilateral agencies, including USAID, WHO, GFATM and others on issues of public and private sector capacity building on tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and avian and pandemic influenzas. He earned his Doctor of Public Health from Flinders University of South Australia, and a Master of Public Health from Mahidol University, Thailand. Dr Raymond is currently a PhD candidate at Torrens University Australia focusing on medical anthropology, health equity, ontological pluralism and health policy in Indonesia.

Travis Saylor is a student at Penn State University, Altoona, USA. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a focus on Clinical and Social Psychology. His studies and research explore changes in cultural values and symbols over time. He has also assisted with research in cognitive psychology, investigating the effects of proactive interference in the visuospatial domain of working memory.

Adrian Scribano is the Director of the Centre for Sociological Research and Studies and a Principal Researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina. He is also the Director of the Latin American Journal of Studies on Bodies, Emotions and Society and the Study Group on Sociology of Emotions and Bodies in the Gino Germani Research Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires. He is, at the same time, a member of the Editorial Management Board of Emotions and Society Journal and the President of the International Network of Sociology of Sensibilities (ReDISS). His latest books are Scribano, A. (2021) Colonization of the Inner Planet: 21st Century Social Theory from the Politics of Sensibilities. Routledge, UK; Cerulo, M. and Scribano, A. (2021) The Emotions in the Classics of Sociology: A Study in Social Theory. Routledge, UK; Scribano, A. and Korstanje, M. E. (2020) Imagining the Alterity: The Position of the Other in the Classic Sociology and Anthropology. Nova Science Publishers, NY USA.

Dr Clare Southerton is a Lecturer in Digital Technology and Pedagogy in the School of Education at La Trobe University, Australia. Her research explores the intersections between social media and digital technologies, and issues related to intimacy, sexuality, privacy and health. She is a co-author of The Face Mask in COVID Times: A Sociomaterial Analysis (De Gruyter, 2021) and her work has been published in New Media & Society, Social Media + Society and the International Journal of Communication.

Paul R. Ward is a Professor at Torrens University Australia. An internationally distinguished and highly influential social scientist, Ward leads a research institute that seeks to move public health away from biomedicine towards a more open-ended future.

Megan Warin is a Professor of Social Sciences and Director of the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender at the University of Adelaide. Her research investigates gender and class differences in obesity, public understandings of gendered bodies and obesity science (developmental origins of health and disease and epigenetics), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander views on epigenetics and intergenerational transmission, phenomenological approaches to embodiment and the nature of desire in disordered eating.

Lexi Webster is the Deputy Director of Digital Humanities at the University of Southampton. Her research focuses primarily on corpus linguistics and critical discourse studies, focusing on the implications that identity constructions and cognitive models have on social actors, institutions, and structures.

Kingsley Whittenbury graduated in medicine at the University of Adelaide in 1978 and completed a doctorate in medical pedagogy for social accountability in 2021 at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University of South Australia. Doctoral supervisors were Prof Paul R. Ward and Prof David Hunter. Dr Whittenbury's career varied between rural primary health care, Australian Indigenous health and medical professionalism education. Post-doctoral interests include medical and health sociology, cybersemiotic communication, biosemiotics, semioethics and Legitimation Code Theory in medical education. He lives on the Adelaide Plains, traditional lands of the Kaurna people. Researcher ORCID: 0000-0002-3871-0433

Janelle L. Wilson is a sociologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is author of Nostalgia: Sanctuary of Meaning, and co-author (with Carmen M. Latterell) of Mathematical Metaphors, Memories, and Mindsets: An Examination of Personal, Social, and Cultural Influences on the Perception of Mathematics.


The SARS-Cov-2 (Covid-19) global pandemic spawned a vast breadth of research – within biomedical science, social sciences and the humanities. Indeed, in the early months of the health emergency, we social science researchers were sometimes castigated for too readily jumping on the coronavirus bandwagon, in an academic dash to bring our particular and disparate insights to bear.

Now, however, with the benefit of time to reflect upon the human and economic cost of the past few years, and the class, ethnic and gender inequalities that the pandemic brought into razor-sharp focus, it is more than timely to reflect on what we may learn from the pandemic. In this Handbook on the sociology of emotions in a post-pandemic world, the editors Paul R. Ward and Kristen Foley have rallied an impressive range of scholars from across the social sciences, to reflect and explore the affective interactions between humans and the wee virus that has caused so much devastation. The chapters in this volume document these multiple interactions. Yet this Handbook will also serve to provide a far broader and lasting perspective on the state of the art of what has come to be known as the ‘sociology of emotions’. Some chapters present empirical data from the pandemic years, while others synthesise sociological perspective to develop theoretical understanding of emotion.

Ward and Foley's introduction provides a detailed guide to the chapters that follow, so rather than recapitulate their fine words, I shall use these few prefatory pages to offer some more general reflections on the field, and how the collective trauma of the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic can refine our understanding of what emotions can do.

I'd suggest that foundationally what emotions do is link human bodies to their environment. Emotions are not the only means by which this happens, of course: human bodies interact physically, psychologically, socially and culturally with the world every moment of the day. But the corporeal intensity of emotions may drive powerful shifts in what bodies can do.

However, it would be mistaken to assume that this link between body and environment is a one-way communication, with emotions treated simply as ‘felt thoughts’ that remind those experiencing them how to respond to events in the social and natural world (for instance, to the victory or loss of a sporting event or election). The communication between body and environment is two-way: emotions also help to produce this social and natural world, and locate humans within it. As Jasper (1998, p. 398) has argued

Emotions pervade all social life, social movements included. … Not only are emotions part of our responses to events, but they also – in the form of deep affective attachments – shape the goals of our actions. … Without them, there might be no social action at all.

In other words, emotions assemble human bodies with the rest of the material and social environment. This perspective on emotion articulates with the recent shifts within sociology that have been described as an ‘affective turn’ (Leys, 2011). But while psychologists frequently use the terms ‘emotion’ and ‘affect’ interchangeably, affect theorists differentiate the two, often applying Deleuze's (1988, p. 123) Spinozist and more-than-human conception of affect as ‘a capacity to affect or be affected’. Affects are ‘becomings’ that augment or diminish the capacities of bodies, say Deleuze and Guattari (1988, p. 256), while Clough (2004, p. 15) argues that affects have the power to switch bodies ‘from one mode to another in terms of attention, arousal, interest, receptivity, stimulation, attentiveness, action, reaction, and inaction’. Affects may be physical, psychological, sociocultural, political or economic, as well as emotional. Consequently, while all emotions are affects, not all affects are emotions.

This assessment suggests a sociological project to look at how emotions affect bodies, but also what they do within collectivities, social processes and social institutions, and the interactivity (in both material and interpretive registers) between human bodies and other physical, social and abstract entities in their physical and social environment.

Chapters in this Handbook variously illustrate how emotional affects during the pandemic produced broader outcomes not limited to individual bodies. Citizens' behaviour may have reflected their trust in epidemiological or other experts, or alternatively, in social media anti-vaccination messages (Foley et al., this volume); anger was the basis for protests against lockdowns and social distancing (Whittenbury, this volume).

However, while Durkheim (1976, p. 218) might have described protest movements against pandemic inequalities or civil unrest over lockdowns simply as a ‘collective effervescence’, from the perspective of the model of affect just outlined, the contribution of emotion such as anger, grief or joy to such public manifestations must be acknowledged as part of a wider flow of affect. Alongside emotions, this flow encompasses reasoned argument, law, ideology, social organisation, rights and physical coercion. Within this flow of affect what bodies can feel is a key element of what they can ‘do’ (Jasper, 1998).

I have been interested in how such broader consequences of emotions and other affects flow through the social world (Fox, 2013, 2015). Deleuze and Guattari (1988, p. 400) described affects as ‘projectiles’ that produce a chain reaction of further affects: as one emotion produces capacities to do, desire or feel, these capacities in turn create subsequent affective flows. Among the many affects that link human bodies to their social and natural environments, emotions may be very important in producing changes in states of bodies, collectivities of bodies and social organisations. For example, watching a film about inequalities in mortality due to Sars-Cov-2 might variously generate anger toward government; elicit donations to a health charity or political cause; or turn viewers into campaigners. All of which in turn will lead to further affects, ad infinitum.

My own study of the emotions and affects surrounding the London Olympics and Paralympics of 2012 (Fox, 2013) traced a flow that began with the ecstatic responses to the award of the Games in 2005 through to the legacy that transformed derelict swathes of land in east London into first the Olympic Park and now a vibrant and desirable hub for housing, shopping and businesses. Along the way it boosted national pride; improved perceptions of people with disabilities; established the political career of then London Mayor Boris Johnson; brought great economic wealth to property developers and altered the demographic of that part of London as city workers bought up newly-built apartments and houses. It also entertained and lifted the spirits of those attending the Games, or watching on TV.

Other studies have demonstrated how such flows of emotions and affects not only shape an individual response to something in the environment but also contribute to politics and protest, social movements (Bensimon, 2012) and social change (Ahmed, 2004, p. 42; Jasper, 1998; Summers-Effler, 2002).

This recognition undermines any sense that emotions (as part of affective flows) are exclusively private, embodied phenomena. These studies suggest that emotions play an important role within the flow of affect that produces cultures, politics and the unfolding sweep of history. Consequently, sociology needs to attend to emotions seriously.

For a long time, emotions were reason's poor relation, sociologically. But acknowledging them as part of the affectivity that produces the social world reinstates their significance. Reason and emotion are no longer opposed or contradictory, as in many sociological analyses (Leys, 2011), but components together within the broad flow that drives a multiplicity of social processes, from political change to mob violence. Areas ripe for exploration include the interplay of emotion and reason in religion, faith and rituals; the emotions that sustain social continuity associated with national commemorations and celebrations such as May Day, Thanksgiving and monarchs' jubilees; and the part sentiment plays in the movements of stock and commodity markets.

This perspective also suggests that – as affects – emotions cut across dualisms that have been dear to sociology's heart. First, by connecting bodies with the social and physical environment, they elide the distinction between nature and culture that defined humanism (Haraway, 1992, p. 150); established the privilege of white, male, able-bodied humans from the Global North (Braidotti, 2019, p. 159) and enabled the emergence of the ‘social sciences’ as an area of scholarship distinct from ‘natural science’. Similarly, they dissolve associated dualisms such as human/non-human, animate/inanimate, mind/matter.

Second, emotions transcend a micro/macro divide: as just noted, emotions and other affects can link the private inner worlds of humans to the public worlds of politics, economics social institutions, social groups and movements and even nations. Fear, anger and grief may translate into votes that shape a nation's economy, diminish or increase social inequalities and civil rights, or even go to war.

Finally, they dissolve a favoured dualism of sociology: agency/structure. In place of structures, systems or mechanisms at work ‘beneath the surface’ of social life, emotions and other affects are the means that establish the endless cascade of events that produce the world and human history. Instead of a plucky human agent struggling against the top-down power of an oppressive social structure, power and resistance flow affectively through the quotidian, more-than-human assemblages that unfold ceaselessly around bodies, actions, interactions and events (Fox & Alldred, 2018).

For all these reasons, we need to attend closely to emotions and what they do. So I have no doubt that this Handbook will make a valuable contribution to this task, as we seek to learn from the distress and economic turmoil caused by the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic and its aftermath. It rightfully deserves a place on the bookshelves of academic libraries and social scientists, and upon reading lists for all those who wish to make sense of the complex ways in which the affects and emotions of everyday life produce and reproduce the social world around us.

Nick J. Fox

University of Huddersfield, UK


The chapter authors who feature in this book wrote on intellectually demanding topics in creative ways, and often during challenging times – both in the global setting of the pandemic and in tumultuous personal circumstances. We are humbled by their thoughtful and persuasive contributions to this book, through which we learnt much, and which we are privileged to share with you.

We are very grateful to Dr Nelsensius Fauk, who supported us with proofing and cross-checking references for each included chapter.


Ahmed, 2004 Ahmed, S. (2004). The cultural politics of emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Bensimon, 2012 Bensimon, M. (2012). The sociological role of collective singing during intense moments of protest: The disengagement from the Gaza strip. Sociology, 46(2), 241257.

Bloch, 2018 Bloch, C., Liebst, L. S., Poder, P., Christiansen, J. M., & Heinskou, M. B. (2018). Caring collectives and other forms of bystander helping behavior in violent situations. Current Sociology, 66(7), 1049–1069.

Braidotti, 2019 Braidotti, R. (2019). Posthuman knowledge. Cambridge: Polity.

Clough, 2004 Clough, P. T. (2004). Future matters: Technoscience, global politics, and cultural criticism. Social Text, 22(3), 123.

Deleuze, 1988 Deleuze, G. (1988). Spinoza: Practical philosophy. San Francisco, CA: City Lights.

Deleuze and Guattari, 1988 Deleuze, G. , & Guattari, F. (1988). A thousand plateaus. London: Athlone.

Durkheim, 1976 Durkheim, E. (1976). The elementary forms of the religious life. Oxford: Allen & Unwin.

Fox, 2013 Fox, N. J. (2013). Flows of affect in the Olympic stadium, and beyond. Sociological Research Online, 18(2), 2.

Fox, 2015 Fox, N. J. (2015). Emotions, affects and the production of social life. British Journal of Sociology, 66(2), 301318.

Fox and Alldred, 2018 Fox, N. J. , & Alldred, P. (2018). Social structures, power and resistance in monist sociology: (New) materialist insights. Journal of Sociology, 54(3), 315330.

Haraway, 1992 Haraway, D. (1992). Otherworldly conversations; terran topics; local terms. Science as Culture, 3(1), 6498.

Jasper, 1998 Jasper, J. M. (1998). The emotions of protest: Affective and reactive emotions in and around social movements. Sociological Forum, 13(3), 397424.

Leys, 2011 Leys, R. (2011). The turn to affect; a critique. Critical Inquiry, 37(3), 434472.

Summers-Effler, 2002 Summers-Effler, E. (2002). The micro-potential for social change: Emotion, consciousness, and social movement formation. Sociological Theory, 20(1), 4160.