Lost in Datafication? - A Typology of (Emotion) Data Contextualization

  • Jörg LehmannEmail author
  • Elisabeth Huber


This article elaborates on the meaning of “context” for data created in interdisciplinary research on emotions. Particularly with regard to the potential reuse of scientific data, the elicitation of contexts can contribute to a better assessment of emotion data. Beyond a discussion of social scientific conceptualizations of “context” focusing on the situational and cultural contexts and their respective interrelations, this article presents the findings of an empirical study on datafication processes in interdisciplinary emotion research. Based on 123 survey responses and 15 in-depth interviews, a multitude of contextual dimensions will be reviewed. The typology of contexts, ranging from method-specific aspects and researchers’ subjectivities to the contextual embeddedness of the research objects, provides a schema suitable for various epistemological approaches. The proposed typology can serve as a framework for emotion researchers to reflect on their research practice and interactions with research participants. The empirical findings also show the limitations of contextualization pertaining to tacit knowledge, implicit knowledge, embodied emotions and ethical considerations. The article concludes with suggestions for further research, pointing to intercultural settings, the integration of contexts and particular scenarios for data reuse.


Data reuse Contextualization Emotion research Interdisciplinarity Typology of contexts 



The authors would like to thank Prof. Dr. Thomas Stodulka for his advice during the writing of this article.


This study was funded by the H2020 LEIT Information and Communication Technologies programme, grant number 732340.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Barrett, L. F., Mesquita, B., & Gendron, M. (2011). Context in emotion perception. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(5), 286–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barth, F. (2002). An anthropology of knowledge. Current Anthropology, 43(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beatty, A. (2013). Current emotion research in anthropology: Reporting the field. Emotion Review, 5(4), 414–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bishop, L., & Kuula-Luumi, A. (2017). Revisiting qualitative data reuse: A decade on. SAGE Open, 7(1), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boellstorff, T., & Lindquist, J. (2004). Bodies of emotion: Rethinking culture and emotion through Southeast Asia. Ethnos, 69(4), 437–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boiger, M., & Mesquita, B. (2012). The construction of emotion in interactions, relationships, and cultures. Emotion Review, 4(3), 221–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burkitt, I. (1997). Social relationships and emotions. Sociology, 31(1), 37–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clifford, J., & Marcus, G. E. (1986). Writing culture: the poetics and politics of ethnography. Berkeley u.a. University of California Press.Google Scholar
  9. Daston, L., & Galison, P. (2007). Objectivity. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  10. De Leersnyder, J., Mesquita, B., & Kim, H. S. (2011). Where do my emotions belong? A study of immigrants’ emotional acculturation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(4), 451–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dixon, T. (2012). “Emotion”: The history of a keyword in crisis. Emotion Review, 4(4), 338–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Drucker, J. (2011). Humanities approaches to graphical display. Digital Humanities Quarterly, 5(1), s.p. Accessed 03/12/2018.
  13. Elfenbein, H. A., Beaupré, M., Lévesque, M., & Hess, U. (2007). Toward a dialect theory: Cultural differences in the expression and recognition of posed facial expressions. Emotion, 7(1), 131–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Engelen, E., Markowitsch, H. J., Scheve, C., Röttger-Rössler, B., Holodynski, M., & Vandekerckhove, M. (2009). Emotions as bio-cultural processes. Disciplinary approaches and interdisciplinary outlook. In B. Röttger-Rössler (Ed.), Emotions as bio-cultural processes (pp. 25–53). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Fielding, N. (2004). Getting the most from archived qualitative data: Epistemological, practical and professional obstacles. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 7(1), 97–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fischer, A. (1991). Emotion scripts: A study of the social and cognitive facets of emotions. Leiden: DSWO Press, Leiden University.Google Scholar
  17. Fischer, A. H., Manstead, A. S. R., & Zaalberg, R. (2003). Social influences on the emotion process. European Review of Social Psychology, 14(1), 171–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fridlund, A. J. (1994). Human facial expression: an evolutionary view. San Diego [u.a.]: Acad. Press.Google Scholar
  19. Frijda, N. H., & Mesquita, B. (1994). The social roles and functions of emotions. In S. Kitayama & H. R. Markus (Eds.), Emotion and culture : empirical studies of mutual influence (1. ed., pp. 51–87). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  20. Gillies, V., & Edwards, R. (2005). Secondary analysis in exploring family and social change: Addressing the issue of context. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(1) Retrieved from
  21. Godbold, N. (2015). Researching emotions in interactions: Seeing and Analysing live processes. Emotion Review, 7(2), 163–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goddard, C. (1995). Conceptual and cultural issues in emotion research. Culture & Psychology, 1(2), 289–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Goodwin, M. H., & Goodwin, C. (2001). Emotion within situated activity. In A. Duranti (Ed.), Linguistic anthropology: A reader (reprinted ed., pp. 239–257). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  24. Granet, M. (1922). Le langage de la douleur, d'après le rituel funéraire de la Chine classique. Journal de Psychologie, 19, 97–118.Google Scholar
  25. Griffiths, P. E., & Scarantino, A. (2008). Emotions in the wild: The situated perspective on emotion. In P. Robbins & M. Aydede (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of situated cognition (pp. 437–453). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hochschild, A. R. (1979). Emotion work, feeling rules, and social structure. American Journal of Sociology, 85(3), 551–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hollan, D. W., & Throop, C. J. (2011). The anthropology of empathy: Experiencing the lives of others in Pacific societies (1. publ. ed.). New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  28. Holodynski, M. (2013). The internalization theory of emotions: A cultural historical approach to the development of emotions. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 20(1), 4–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hong, G. (2004). Emotions in culturally-constituted relational worlds. Culture & Psychology, 10(1), 53–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Izard, C. E. (2010). The many meanings/aspects of emotion: Definitions, functions, activation, and regulation. Emotion Review, 2(4), 363–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Izard, C. E. (2011). Forms and functions of emotions: Matters of emotion–cognition interactions. Emotion Review, 3(4), 371–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Josephs, I. E. (1995). The problem of emotions from the perspective of psychological semantics. Culture & Psychology, 1(2), 279–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kagan, J. (2018). Brain and emotion. Emotion Review, 10(1), 79–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kelder, J. (2005). Using someone Else's data: Problems, pragmatics and provisions. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(1) Retrieved from
  35. Kemper, T. D. (1984). Power, status, and emotions: A sociological contribution to a psychological domain. In K. R. Scherer (Ed.), Approaches to emotion (pp. 369–383). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  36. Kindermann, T. A., & Valsiner, J. (1995). Epilogue: directions for the study of developing person-context relations. In T. A. Kindermann & J. Valsiner (Eds.), Development of Person-Context Relations (pp. 227–240). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  37. Knorr-Cetina, K. (1999). Epistemic cultures: How the sciences make knowledge ([1. publ.] ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Kristensen, D. B., & Ruckenstein, M. (2018). Co-evolving with self-tracking technologies. New Media & Society, 20(10), 3624–3640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lehmann, J., Stodulka, T., & Huber, E. (2018). H2020 project K-PLEX: WP4 report on data, Knowledge Organisation and Epistemics, Research Report, Freie Universität Berlin 2018. Retrieved from
  40. Levy, R. I. (1984). Emotion, knowing, and Culture. In R. A. Shweder & R. A. LeVine (Eds.), Culture theory: Essays on mind, self and emotion (1. publ. ed., pp. 214–237). Cambridge u.a.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Lindquist, K. A., & Gendron, M. (2013). What’s in a word? Language constructs emotion perception. Emotion Review, 5(1), 66–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1994). The cultural shaping of emotion: A conceptual framework. In S. Kitayama & H. R. Markus (Eds.), Emotion and culture : empirical studies of mutual influence (1. ed., pp. 339–351). Washington: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  43. Masuda, T., Ellsworth, P. C., Mesquita, B., Leu, J., Tanida, S., & Veerdonk, E. (2008). Placing the face in context: Cultural differences in the perception of facial emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(3), 365–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Matt, S. J. (2011). Current emotion research in history: Or, doing history from the inside out. Emotion Review, 3(1), 117–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mesquita, B., & Boiger, M. (2014). Emotions in context: A Sociodynamic model of emotions. Emotion Review, 6(4), 298–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Moore, N. (2006). The contexts of context: Broadening perspectives in the (re)use of qualitative data. Methodological Innovations Online, 1(2), 21–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mulligan, K., & Scherer, K. R. (2012). Toward a working definition of emotion. Emotion Review, 4(4), 345–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nogueira, A. L. H. (2014). Emotional experience, meaning, and sense production: Interweaving concepts to dialogue with the funds of identity approach. Culture & Psychology, 20(1), 49–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Parkinson, B. (1996). Emotions are social. British Journal of Psychology, 87, 663–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Parkinson, B., & Simons, G. (2012). Worry spreads: Interpersonal transfer of problem-related anxiety. Cognition and Emotion, 26(3), 462–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Reddy, W. M. (2001). The navigation of feeling: a framework for the history of emotions (1. Publ. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rogers, K. B., Schröder, T., & von Scheve, C. (2014). Dissecting the sociality of emotion: A multilevel approach. Emotion Review, 6(2), 124–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rosaldo, R. (1993). Grief and Headhunter's rage. In R. Rosaldo (Ed.), Culture & Truth (pp. 1–21). Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  54. Röttger-Rössler, B., Scheidecker, G., Jung, S., & Holodynski, M. (2013). Socializing emotions in childhood: A cross-cultural comparison between the bara in Madagascar and the Minangkabau in Indonesia. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 20(3), 260–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Röttger-Rössler, B., Scheidecker, G., Funk, L., & Holodynski, M. (2015). Learning (by) feeling: A cross-cultural comparison of the socialization and development of emotions. Ethos, 43(2), 187–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Russell, J. A. (1991). Culture and the categorization of emotions. Psychological Bulletin, 110(November 1991), 426–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Russell, J. A. (2014). Four perspectives on the psychology of emotion: An introduction. Emotion Review, 6(4), 291–291. Scholar
  58. Sanford, K. (2012). The communication of emotion during conflict in married couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 26(3), 297–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Scheer, M. (2012). Are emotions a kind of practice (and is that what makes them have a history)? A Bourdieuian approach to understanding emotion. History and Theory, 51(2), 193–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Scherer, K. R. (2001). Appraisal considered as a process of multi-level sequential checking. In T. Johnstone, A. Schorr, & K. R. Scherer (Eds.), Appraisal Processes in Emotion : Theory, Methods, Research (pp. 92–120). Oxford. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P., Laamanen, T.-K., Viitala, J., & Mäkelä, M. (2013). Materiality and emotions in making. Techne Series: Research in Sloyd Education and Craft Science A, 20(3), 5–19.Google Scholar
  62. Shweder, R. A., & Beldo, L. (2015). Culture: Contemporary views. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences, 2nd edition (Second edition ed., pp. 582–589). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  63. Slaby, J., Mühlhoff, R., & Wüschner, P. (2017). Affective arrangements. Emotion Review, 1–10.
  64. Stodulka, T. (2017a). Coming of age on the streets of Java: Coping with marginality, stigma and illness. Bielefeld: transcript.Google Scholar
  65. Stodulka, T. (2017b). Towards an integrative anthropology of emotion – A case study from Yogyakarta. In A. Storch (Ed.), Consensus and dissent: Negotiating emotion in the public space (pp. 9–34). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  66. Stodulka, T., Dinkelaker, S., & Thajib, F. (2019, in press). Fieldwork, Ethnography and the Empirical Affect Montage. In A. Kahl (Ed.), Analyzing Affective Societies: Methods and Methodologies. Abington, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  67. Strathern, M. (1995). Shifting contexts: transformations in anthropological knowledge (1. publ. ed.). London [u.a.]: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Swap, S. M. (1978). The ecological model of emotional disturbance in children: A status report and proposed synthesis. Behavioral Disorders, 3(3), 186–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Taipale, J. (2016). Self-regulation and beyond: Affect regulation and the infant–caregiver dyad. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 889–889.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Thamm, R. (2004). Towards a universal power and status theory of emotion. In Advances in Group Processes: Vol. 21. Theory and Research on Human Emotions (pp. 189–222): Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  71. Trommsdorff, G., & Kornadt, H. (2002). Parent-child relations in cross-cultural perspective. In L. Kuczynski (Ed.), Handbook of dynamics in parent-child relations (pp. 271–305). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc..Google Scholar
  72. Valsiner, J. (1994). Co-constructionism: What is (and is not) in a name? In P. Geert, L. P. Mos, & W. J. Baker (Eds.), Annals of theoretical psychology (Vol. 10, pp. 343–368). Boston: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wierzbicka, A. (1995). Emotion and facial expression: A semantic perspective. Culture & Psychology, 1(2), 227–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social and Cultural AnthropologyBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations