The sociology of consumption has had a fraught relationship with aesthetics, with varying levels of interest in the concept throughout the history of the discipline. Today, aesthetics is barely mentioned at all and is not considered to be relevant to enabling transitions towards more sustainable futures. In this article I demonstrate how this is due both to the prevalent understanding of aesthetics in sociology – anchored in Kantian discourse on art – and the unwitting consequences of the disciplinary developments which have taken place following the cultural turn. Drawing from philosophy and anthropology, I then present two different understandings of aesthetics, inspired by Aristotle and Dewey, which provide more fruitful avenues for engaging with the concept. The article presents existing work taking these definitions forward and shows how reconceptualising aesthetics enables us both to grasp the specificities of the unsustainable patterns of consumption of the wealthy and unequal societies of Europe, North America and Australasia, and envision the possibility of a societal transformation beyond the consumer aesthetics of ‘the Capitalocene’. Decoupling aesthetics from art, I argue for the importance of defamiliarisation and aesthetic revisioning in the creation of fairer, more sustainable and better futures.
Journalistic live blogging entails the conundrum of capturing emotions in a context where they should be absent, snapping up the sensational in the subtle drama of the courtroom and presenting it in a way that attracts readers, thus making it clickable.
Applying an inductive frame analysis of live blogs and drawing on criteria of newsworthiness and an emotion sociological framework, this article shows two frames of understanding criminal trials are constructed in live blogs: prosecutorial power and teamwork. These frames serve to construct and reconstruct understandings of criminal trials in Sweden. The frames are partially embedded in the legal sphere thereby reproducing the ideological underpinnings of unemotional rationality while concomitantly conveying a more contemporary understanding wherein reason and emotion are conflated. The study shows further that the media frame shapes how criminal trials are reported in live blogs leading to a somewhat distorted understanding of trials being conveyed. Legal professionals are made newsworthy by drawing on news values, particularly emotionalisation, which constitutes a crucial tool for the live blogging journalist.
Social media are increasingly important tools in diplomacy. Diplomats are expected to use social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to communicate with each other and with both the domestic and international publics. This form of communication involves displaying positive emotions to generate attention in a competitive information environment. Emotions are essential to managing perceptions, conveying signals and safeguarding state reputations in traditional diplomacy. Commercial demands of online performance, however, activate new dimensions and challenges in the management of emotions in diplomacy. As digital disinformation and populist campaigns have transgressed the boundaries of domestic public debate, diplomats must also display emotional restraint to contain and counter such influence. This article analyses how diplomats perceive the demands of digital diplomacy and how emotions are engaged in their efforts to perform competently both online and offline. The study draws on fieldwork and interviews with 13 European diplomats as well as document analysis of handbooks and training material used to transfer ‘emotional communication skills’ to diplomats. The study findings suggest that the demands of digital diplomacy are challenging traditional enactments of ‘the good diplomat’. In addition to the tensions between outreach and countering communication practices, the emotional labour in digital diplomacy extends beyond what we see on social media. Diplomats perceive the expectations of constant performance online to at times conflict with their professional role offline.
Recent research has investigated the emotional underpinnings of support for the political new right. Some of these works focus on the supply-side of support, emphasising specific political styles and discourses, whereas others emphasise the demand-side, highlighting cultural, economic and emotional factors. Lacking from this research, in particular for the European context, is an understanding of how supporters of the new right experience and make sense of pertinent cleavages with regard to emotions. The present study sets out to acquire a more detailed understanding of the emotional narratives of supporters of the new right, in particular with regard to fear and religious cleavages. Using group interviews with supporters of new right parties and movements in Germany, we show that narratives involving fear pertain to the idea of a valued collective ‘We’ that consists of political and cultural elements, and serves as a reference point to collective identity and an antidote to existential insecurities. Further, the collective We is perceived to be threatened by cultural differences and changing majority-minority relations with respect to five domains of social life: demography, liberal democratic order, public majority culture, security and welfare.