© 2020

Emotions in Digital Interactions

Ethnopsychologies of Angels' Mothers in Online Bereavement Communities

  • Offers new theoretical and analytical perspectives while providing practical implications for healthcare and counseling practitioners

  • Presents a compelling example of using empirical, real-world case studies to analyze theoretical positions

  • Contributes to discourse in digital sociology, sociology of emotions, sociological theory, and social psychology


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Irene Rafanell, Maja Sawicka
    Pages 1-8
  3. Emotions, Social Interaction, and Structural Phenomena

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Irene Rafanell, Maja Sawicka
      Pages 11-18
    3. Irene Rafanell, Maja Sawicka
      Pages 19-25
    4. Irene Rafanell, Maja Sawicka
      Pages 49-52
    5. Irene Rafanell, Maja Sawicka
      Pages 53-60
  4. The Emergence of a New Ethnopsychology of Motherhood

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 61-61
    2. Irene Rafanell, Maja Sawicka
      Pages 63-98
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 113-120

About this book


Combining the conceptual tools of interactionist and social constructionist positions, this book presents an in-depth investigation of emotions in digital interactions. Through the central case study of online bereavement communities for women who have suffered perinatal loss, this volume highlights the significance of affective sanctioning as constitutive of group dynamics and practice. The authors chart the emergence of a new ethnopsychology of motherhood—the category of ‘Angels’ Mothers’—arising from the localized practices of a community whose experience of grief is otherwise disenfranchised. Through their detailed theoretical exploration of the centrality of micro-situational dynamics, alongside the rich empirical illustration of collectively shared feeling rules and norms, Rafanell and Sawicka develop a naturalistic approach to the analysis of empirical data, providing insights for policy-making interventions.  


social theory social institutions symbolic interactionism bereavement communities grief digital sociology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Social SciencesUniversity of the West of ScotlandPaisleyUK
  2. 2.Institute of SociologyUniversity of WarsawWarsawPoland

About the authors

Irene Rafanell is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of Scotland, UK, where she teaches on gender theory, sociology of the body, social theory and theories of power. She is an Honorary Fellow and a member of the Center for Research on Families and Relationships of the School of Social and Political Studies at Edinburgh University, UK. Her work explores the connections between social theory, social constructionism, sociology of knowledge and the body. Her book Sexed and Gendered Bodies as Social Institutions will be published by Palgrave. She is currently developing research on digital sociology and sociology of emotions analyzing digital communicative interactions.

Maja Sawicka is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Sociology of Warsaw University, Poland. In her work, she focuses on emotions perceived as social phenomena, investigating the links between culture, interactional group processes, and individual emotional experiences. She has a wide teaching experience in the field of Social Psychology and Qualitative Research Methods. She is the author of Emotions in Interactions in the Contemporary Polish Society (2018, in Polish).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Emotions in Digital Interactions
  • Book Subtitle Ethnopsychologies of Angels' Mothers in Online Bereavement Communities
  • Authors Irene Rafanell
    Maja Sawicka
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-21997-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-22000-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-21998-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VIII, 120
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Sociological Theory
    Media Sociology
    Psychosocial Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This thought-provoking volume draws upon a sophisticated, distinctive theoretical approach to analyse the experience of bereavement following perinatal loss. A significant contribution to social theory and also to our understanding of the role played by emotions in social life.” (Donald MacKenzie, Professor of Sociology, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)

“The reader is provided with innovative theoretical tools to understand how humans make the realities of social worlds. The authors demonstrate how online communities of ‘angels’ mothers’ create a world that enables wider recognition of their individually experienced grief.” (Lynn Jamieson, Professor of Sociology, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)

“An excellent addition to the literature looking to understand the digital realm from a phenomenological standpoint. Rafanell and Sawicka offer a compelling depiction of virtual bereavement communities,  resulting in a convincing piece of work, highly recommended to scholars and students interested in digital sociology, the sociology of emotions and institutionalism.”  (Greti-Iulia Ivana, Lecturer in Digital Society, University of Glasgow, UK)