Over the past three decades, five general theoretical approaches to understanding the dynamics of human emotions have emerged in sociology: dramaturgical theories, symbolic interactionist theories, interaction ritual theories, power and status theories, and exchange theories. We review each of these approaches. Despite the progress made by these theories, several issues remain unresolved: the nature of emotions, feeling, and affect; the degree to which emotions are biologically based or socially constructed; the gap between social psychological theories on emotions and macrostructural theorizing; and the relatively narrow range of emotions theorized, coupled with an equally narrow focus on the structural and cultural conditions producing these emotions.

Keyword(s): affectemotionstheory

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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