• Irene RafanellEmail author
  • Maja Sawicka


This introductory chapter outlines the theoretical framework developed, and the empirical investigation undertaken, in order to explore the emergence of a new ethnopsychology of motherhood in online bereavement communities. It adopts a constructionist approach which claims that new reality emerges from the coinage of new linguistic terms to refer to individuals’ experiences. Key to this position is the claim that linguistic categories emerge as collective goods, i.e. social conventions. Such a claim, in itself, is not novel in the field of the sociology of emotions, which recognizes that emotions are both psycho-physiological and social in nature, and that social factors (including linguistic terms through which individuals identify and name their feelings) participate in the constitution of emotional experiences. However, the authors point out that such approaches perceive emotions as the result of social forces, neglecting their constitutive nature. Emotions not only emerge from social arrangements, but also act as causal forces that bring particular social phenomena into being. A central aim of the book is to identify the methods and mechanisms underpinning the emergence of a new emotional life-world. Such an approach builds upon symbolic interactionist and ethnomethodological tenets, further developing them by incorporating insights from the sociology of knowledge.


Language Life-world Sociology of emotions Phenomenology Interactionism Ethnopsychology 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

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

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