DOI link for Courage
Despite being a universally desirable virtue, the meaning of courage and its behavioural components are far from settled in the scholarly literature. I begin this chapter with an overview of how courage is conceptualized in the fields of philosophy and psychology. I suggest that in both areas courage is viewed primarily as an essential quality of the individual. Borrowing from the insights of sociology of emotions and related empirical research, the bulk of the chapter then considers how courage is constructed and used in interactional contexts. Specifically, I discuss how courage is embedded in language, narratives, culture, and socialization and mediated by social structures such as gender, race, sexual orientation, and social class. Moving beyond the individualistic interpretations of courage, the chapter gives special attention to the social conditions in which actions and actors become defined as courageous and, by extension, the variations in the definition of courage across cultures and social institutions.