Sociology and Criminology

Sociology of Emotions and Mental Health

Module code: L4114B
Level 5
15 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

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.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sociological theories of emotion.
  • Explore and analyse in depth the social and cultural dimensions of at least one emotion or feeling state.
  • Develop a sensitive understanding of the relationship between emotions, mental health and self-identity.
  • Critically evaluate alternative approaches to mental health care, including anti-psychiatry, counselling and psychotherapy.