Sociology of Emotions and Mental Health (L4114B)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

Emotions are socially defined, managed and regulated. Individuals perform emotion work to follow or resist normative ‘feeling rules’.

On this module, you examine the relationship between the personal world of emotions and the social, cultural and historical conditions in which they arise. We will explore emotions of:

  • passion, such as love and hate
  • self-consciousness, such as shyness, embarrassment, pride and shame
  • mood, such as happiness and sadness
  • transgression, such as anger, envy and surprise.

We’ll also look at sociological theories that explain how some forms of emotional distress are defined as mental disorders. The lived experience of this can shape self-identity. We consider some different responses to this, including self-help groups, online activism, counselling and psychotherapy.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: