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Doing emotions: the role of culture in everyday emotions

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Emotional experience is culturally constructed. In this review, we discuss evidence that cultural differences in emotions are purposeful, helping an individual to meet the mandate of being a good person in their culture. We also discuss research showing that individual’s fit to the cultural emotion norm is associated with well-being, and suggest that this link may be explained by the fact that normative emotions meet the cultural mandate. Finally, we discuss research that sheds light on some of the collective processes of emotion construction: social interactions and emotion representations are geared towards promoting emotions that are conducive to the cultural mandate. In conclusion, we suggest that individuals become part of their culture by “doing emotions” in a way that is consistent with the cultural mandate, and that in intercultural interactions, emotions can be literally “at cross purposes”: each person’s emotions are constructed to fit the purposes of their own culture.
Journal: European Review of Social Psychology
ISSN: 1046-3283
Issue: 1
Volume: 28
Pages: 95 - 133
Publication year:2017