Toward a Critical Interactionist Approach to Emotion-As-Practice
Following their call, this article aims to develop an emotion-as-practice perspective that transcends underlying dichotomies within social theory, synthesizes previous theoretical approaches within the sociology of emotion, and makes the study of emotion more applicable to various facets of the sociological endeavor, including the role of emotion in perpetuating social inequalities. We draw on the work of Pierre Bourdieu to theorize emotion as the non-conscious (potentially conscious or unconscious) modes of engagement/being that infuse and emerge from structural conditions, social interactions, and internalized dispositions. Feelings exist in tandem with information. As the line between reason and emotion is blurred, both infuse each other. Applying this conceptualization to healthcare—an area of general sociological concern, we flesh out a critical interactionist approach to emotion-as-practice using data drawn from 48 nurse diaries. Our findings push for a new conception of emotion as structured, as well as fluidly absorbed, channeled, and transformed into other emotions, cognitions, and actions within every day social practice.