Anger and Anxiety: Dimensions of social inequality (320)

Principal Investigator:
Research Team:
  • Katja Rackow

Are there systematic relationships between the experience of specific emotions and people's socioeconomic status? Do people from different social strata experience some emotions more often than others?

Are there systematic relationships between the experience of specific emotions and people's socioeconomic status? Do people from different social strata experience some emotions more often than others? Which emotions are "typical" for a given social class and which are rarely experienced? How does gender correlate with the frequency of experiencing specific emotions? Is there a marked influence of major life events (e.g., marriage, loss of job, divorce) on the prolonged experience of some emotions and, if so, does this differ across social strata? In short: we investigate whether the experience of certain emotions - in particular anger and anxiety - is a dimension of social inequality.

The sociology of emotions has addressed these questions for quite some time, assuming that the experience of emotion is tightly connected to the distribution of social and economic resources on the one hand, and cultural norms and values on the other hand. This project examines these assumptions using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), a wide-ranging representative longitudinal study of private households in Germany, including more than 20,000 adults. It is the first time that these issues have been investigated using a representative sample of the German population. The data includes a wide range of demographic characteristics that allow one to take into account essential dimensions of social inequality and other variables, such as marital status, personality traits and life satisfaction.

Publications

Rackow, Katja, Schupp, Jürgen, von Scheve, Christian (2012). Angst und Ärger: Zur Relevanz emotionaler Dimensionen sozialer Ungleichheit. Zeitschrift für Soziologie 41 (5). 392-409.