Individualism and Emotion in Modern Western Culture

Authored by: Peter N. Stearns

The Routledge Companion to Cultural History in the Western World

Print publication date:  September  2020
Online publication date:  September  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138649460
eBook ISBN: 9781003080206
Adobe ISBN:


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The chapter draws on recent research on the history of emotions and explores the various ways in which a new valuation of individualism affected emotional formulations, beginning in the late eighteenth century and extending through to the twentieth century. The chapter focuses on the nature of the new emphasis on cultural individualism, including the complicated relationship with earlier signs of Western individualism, such as the Renaissance and Protestantism. The chapter analyses the history of Western individualism in relation to changing standards for emotion, both to move past mere generalization and to link the wider cultural history to the growing field of inquiry into emotional norms and experiences.

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