People may perceive emotion as residing in the individual and composed of some portion of the personal subjective experience. However, certain common patterns of emotional experience exist. Shared social definitions of emotions are generally recognized, and these can be evoked or referenced in socially appropriate situations. These emotion norms then become incorporated into the definition of the situation. While psychology and psychiatry have investigated emotions as internal to the individual, sociology has contributed a social, interactionist analysis of emotion, or affect, to scholarly discourse. This entry delineates some of the theoretical and empirical work, both classic and contemporary, occurring in the sociology of emotion.
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