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Envy and Culture – An Interdisciplinary Perspective

In: Emotions: History, Culture, Society
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  • 1 Universitätsmedizin Rostock, Rostock, Germany
  • | 2 Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
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Abstract

Research on envy across cultures is scarce. Existing studies are predominantly limited to Eurocentric experimental snapshots. As a careful suggestion to diversify methods, samples and theory in envy-related studies, this essay presents a review and an interdisciplinary methodological suggestion to analyse semi-structured interviews of persons with diverse socialisation backgrounds. The essay illustrates that the triggers and objects of envy, its experience, associated expressions and actions, are shaped by socialised emotion norms and feeling rules, emotion socialisation practices, cultural values and social change. The essay concludes that careful qualitative comparisons between different culture socialisation groups in real-life situations and lifeworlds are remarkably absent from interdisciplinary research. This is an epistemological void, considering the significant contributions of ethnography in emotion research.

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