Cultural Conceptualizations of Emotions

Published: 2017-09-08 13:59:54
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Sewanee University of the South
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Cultural Conceptualizations of Emotions

Introduction

The interaction between culture and language has attained theoretical advancements that have proven to be paramount (Sharifian, 2015). Cultural conceptualizations and language bring a broader frame that clearly defines the existing relationship between culture, language and conceptualization through improving the notion of cultural cognition. Collective cognition brings the interaction between members of a speech of a given community over a period of space and time. This model is explained through using different disciplines such as science, cognitive anthropology, and cognitive linguistics.

Cultural Linguistics

           Cultural Linguistics is the leading research that focuses on the study of language and its relation to a culture that dates back to the seventeenth century in addition to the scholarly works of Wilhelm Von (1767-1835), Franz Boas (1858-1942), and Edward Sapir (1884-1939). Cultural Linguistics emphases on the role of culture to conceptualize different human experiences and its relationship to culture, language, and conceptualization.

           According to various studies of cultural linguistics, the language of a given group of people contributes a lot to their emotional experiences since language is one of the ways in which people express their innermost feelings everywhere in the world. Cognitive linguistic on the one hand is associated with linguistic anthropology and the study of language and culture. Language thus plays a significant role when it comes to defining the different views of separate communities on the concept of emotions and its relationship to culture (Sharifian, 2015). There are those that see language as a cultural activity while on the same note, there are those view language as an element that shapes the thought of a group of people in the society.

           The concept of language and culture conceptualized in a way that it brings out a precise definition of conceptualization and its relationship to language and culture. The conceptualization of language and culture clearly defines the emotional experiences of different groups of people in the society. Language also assists in determining the form of imagery constructed by a cultural belief and this means that cultural imagery governs figurative language, grammar, narrative, semantics, discourse, and phonology. Imagery brings out the picture of what one wants to see in their mind before bringing it out through verbal images arranged in complex categories.

Cultural Conceptualization and Concept of Culture

           Many metaphors explicate the concept of emotions as a universal phenomenon influenced by an individuals culture. In most cases, emotions are observable through the behaviors and expressions of individuals. Even though emotions are a universal phenomenon, sometimes it depends on the experiences of the individual that depicts these emotions and their cultural backgrounds and specific events and the perception of the society surrounding them. Metaphors of social constructionists believe that emotions are often aligned with cultural influence even though its components are universal.

           The most common types of emotions that are universally recognized are such as; sadness, surprise, happiness, anger, disgust and fear and these six emotions have ignited different arguments and discussions amongst sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists globally. It is not easy to comprehend the concept of emotions unless one fully understands how culture affects the behaviors and expressions of individuals in the society.  Different cultures vary when it comes to cultural background and experiences, and this means that they are derived from diverse experiences. When an individual is annoyed, it is evident to see it in their facial expression and the same thing when they are happy, and this remains to be the most prominent and universal manifestation of emotions in the modern world.

           Other studies agree with the arguments since these forms of emotional expressions observable on different continents around the globe even though sometimes some forms of emotions are not always easy to read through an individuals facial expression. One of the ways of giving this argument a ground was through taking pictures with faces that depict facial expressions of sadness, happiness among other forms of facial expressions and these photographs were taken to different continents for people to match the looks and what emotions they display and the result was similar in all the continents. In other arguments by other theorists, emotions are viewed as a faces neuromuscular activity, and this means that the concept of emotions is much deeper than what was initially thought to be.

           Some communities have diverse ways of displaying their emotions, and this is observable when one looks at how a woman and her children communicate either when they are alone or with other people. The reactions of women and children of Western culture and those of African origin do not depict similar climax of emotions during emotional responses. There are those children who respond quicker to emotional caress while others do not even show any form of interest in sensitive touch. Most African women from rural villages do not depict similar responses to those from the town in similar events, and this is the same case among Westernized communities from the city and those from the villages.

           It only means that the argument can take a different angle of discussion to reflect the ideology and concept and its relation to culture. In some communities, it's hard to note expressions of sadness because their culture teaches them that anger is associated with evil thus as a way of disassociation to evil and anything that relates to it, everyone shuns from expressions of anger. The argument on cultural conceptualization and its relation to a cultural background is quite debatable because not everyone within the same community can depict different reactions during an event.

           It is evident that even in a family everyone does not have similar reactions during an event since there are those that are much happier than others and others are more reserved when it comes to different incidents. One can argue that emotions do not have to be associated with culture to give its meaning since one can have unique emotional responses that do not necessarily represent their culture. 

sheldon

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