chapter  I
4 Pages

I.1 Emotional community

ByANDREW LYNCH

In the study of early modern emotions, few terms are more widely employed than ‘emotional community’. Its popularity stems from several influential books and essays by the historian Barbara H. Rosenwein, but what ‘emotional community’ means in its different usages can vary considerably. A close look at Rosenwein’s formulation and practice of the term is helpful:

Emotional communities are largely the same as social communities – families, neighborhoods, syndicates, academic institutions, monasteries, factories, platoons, princely courts. But the researcher looking at them seeks above all to uncover systems of feeling, to establish what these communities (and the individuals within them) define and assess as valuable or harmful to them (for it is about such things that people express emotions); the emotions that they value, devalue, or ignore; the nature of the affective bonds between people that they recognize; and the modes of emotional expression that they expect, encourage, tolerate, and deplore.1