2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Some Notes and Comments on the Study of Emotion and Culture

Ying-Kuei Huang

Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica

Adopting cultural constructionism as its dominant theoretical approach, the study of emotion and culture established in the 1970s had gradually developed into a sub-field in anthropology under the influence of post-modernism during the 1980s. However, after a decade of reflection and criticism on the problem of cultural constructionism, the anthropology of emotion is now heading for a new direction. Its earnest effort to transcend the opposition between constructionism and essentialism promises, first, to bring new understanding and interpretation to our ethnographic data; second, to bring forth the uniqueness of the culture studies; and finally, to enrich our conception of emotion and to further the development of anthropological theory as a whole.

The research on the problem of emotion and culture in present day Taiwan is only beginning to enter the stage of cultural constructionism. If we do not catch up with the new theoretical development, this research trend, though flourishing, could only repeat the weakness and drawbacks of earlier studies.


Keywords: emotion, culture, anthropology of emotion