Angry Abolitionists and the Rhetoric of Slavery: Moral by Benjamin Lamb-Books

By Benjamin Lamb-Books

This e-book is an unique program of rhetoric and moral-emotions idea to the sociology of social pursuits. It promotes a brand new interdisciplinary imaginative and prescient of what social activities are, why they exist, and the way they reach achieving momentum through the years. Deepening the affective size of cultural sociology, this paintings attracts upon the social psychology of human emotion and interpersonal communique. particularly, the booklet revolves round the subject of anger as a distinct ethical emotion that may be made to play the most important motivational and generative services in protest. The chapters boost a brand new concept of the emotional energy of protest rhetoric, together with how abolitionist performances of heterodoxic racial and gender prestige imaginaries contributed to the escalation of the ‘sectional clash’ over American slavery.

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Extra info for Angry Abolitionists and the Rhetoric of Slavery: Moral Emotions in Social Movements

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Newspaper accounts of their speeches that include applause lines and hissing read like an instruction manual in eloquence. Through a close affective-hermeneutical reading, the performative and emotional dynamics of charisma can be uncovered (for methodological details, see Appendix). Much audience emotional intensity, I have found, was generated by their dramaturgical experimentations with perceived status, including upon the dominant racial and gender status imaginaries of their social context.

Structures’ being constituted through a reciprocal interplay of virtual cognitive schemas and material resources (see Ridgeway 2011). To put it in another way, status no longer fits the chronic dichotomy between culturalist and structuralist theoretical approaches, a dichotomy which sociologist Francesca Polletta has argued is a pernicious one for interpreting social movements (Polletta 1997; an argument also made by Summers Effler 2005). 12 Unfortunately, the fate of status concepts and status theory in social movements research has not been kind.

In my view, many emotions ranging from envy, grief, to disgust could be or become a moral emotion if group-oriented values or expectations are at stake. Moral emotions are the complex psychological apparatus predisposing humans to form reference group attachments and be especially sensitive to standing within the group. The moral emotion category has in fact recently been expanded to include a wider range of emotions, including but not limited to guilt, outrage, feelings of unfairness, a sense of social debt, loyalty, reciprocity, anger, or indignation—a list invoking many of the emotions most prevalent at contentious gatherings.

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