Emotions in Politics: The Affect Dimension in Political by N. Demertzis

By N. Demertzis

Brought on through the 'affective flip' in the whole spectrum of the social sciences, this books brings jointly the dual disciplines of political psychology and the political sociology of feelings to discover the advanced courting among politics and emotion at either the mass and person point with targeted specialise in situations of political stress.

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Each of us can quickly come up with at least a hundred active efforts now at play. Only a partial list would include solicitations to help with this or that natural disaster, to find a solution to this or that disease, to engage this or that economic issue, to grapple with this or that cultural challenge. The American instances of late have been marriage for homosexual couples, legalization of drugs, the ‘right’ to own and carry guns, flag burning, designating English as the official language of the USA, assisted suicide and on and on, and of course the full plate of political issues, health care, minimum wages, working conditions, environmental issues, new sources of energy, provisions for retirement, the various causes that come from other lands (Darfur, Kosovo, Tibet and so on).

It integrates the three ongoing streams, somatosensory (so it knows in detail our bodies, including the locations of all our parts, skeletal and muscular, and our energy sources), our memories of the apt actions that master familiar task execution in familiar circumstances, and it has swift and fulsome detail about the immediate world (that is, sensory streams). These are integrated and their ongoing unfolding is continuously and rapidly assessed (that is, preconscious appraisals). The system uses affect as the means by which the success or failure of ongoing action is reported to the brain (and Affective Intelligence and Liberal Politics 27 when sufficiently persistent and robust is also reported to conscious awareness).

To the extent that many people share their responses to current circumstances then their affects and consciousnesses will be aligned, hence enabling joint feelings of solidarity and collective action. If liberal societies are very homogeneous then such joint responses could mobilize much of the populace. But as Madison (Hamilton, Jay and Madison, 2001) foresaw in ‘Federalist no. 10’ liberal democracies would naturally evolve into greater degrees of heterogeneity thus, since diversity guarantees that few will share many conditions of familiarity and many will find quite different circumstances unfamiliar enough to elicit anxiety.

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