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"Emotions are a starting place for discovering characteristic elements and phenomena within modern societies that were once ignored"

Madalena D'Oliveira-Martins defended her thesis on social reflexivity and the sociology of emotions in Arlie R. Hochschild's theory

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FOTO: Manuel Castells
22/10/15 13:04 Macarena Izquierdo

The Portuguese philosopher Madalena D'Oliveira-Martins defended her doctoral thesis entitled ‘Social reflexivity and the sociology of emotions: An analysis of modernity in Arlie R. Hochschild.'

D'Oliveira-Martins conducted this research while working within the Emotional Culture and Identity project at the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra, which Zurich Insurance finances. Lourdes Flamarique, an ICS collaborator and professor within Faculty of Arts of the University of Navarra, served as her director.

The newly minted doctor studied the concept of social reflexivity and the sociology of emotions in Arlie Russell Hochschild, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California (Berkeley), who is also considered the founder of the sociology of emotions.

Hochschild's theory deals with some of the most notorious phenomena in contemporary societies, including women's social role and new feminine codes; the balance between work and family; shifting boundaries between the public and private spheres and new emotional demands in the service and care sectors.

Why emotions are of interest

In the context of her research, Madalena D'Oliveira-Martins noted that, "the prism of emotions leads to the discovery of characteristic elements and phenomena in modern societies that were previously ignored or barely addressed in other theoretical approaches" and therefore "a better understanding of social action."

She also concluded that, "renewed interest in the emotional dimension, for both sociological analysis and for individuals themselves, is both a symptom and a consequence of the reflective dynamism present in contemporary societies."

To better understand this interest in the emotional dimension, the young researcher delved into reflexivity's development by examining early twentieth century theories such as those of Weber, Simmel, Cooley, Mead, Blumer and Goffman.

As part of her research, in 2014, Madalena D'Oliveira-Martins conducted a six-month research stay within the Department of Sociology at the University of Berkeley with Professor Hochschild.

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