Una sociologia delle emozioni: il risentimento
| STUDI DI SOCIOLOGIA - 2010 - 1
Beginning with a critical examination of F. Nietzsche’ and M. Scheler’s account of individualistic and vitalistic resentment, this paper considers the emotional patterns of resentment in everyday interactions and in social relationships characterized by inequality, in the context of modernity.
Resentment is a feeling experienced by social actors when an external agency denies them opportunities or valued resources (including status) that are socially represented as available to them. Such feeling inheres simultaneously in the social structures and relationships in which social actors are embedded. Arising from social relationships, resentment depends on the wider set of relations, that constitutes the social framework in which the agent plays his part. This analytic perspective puts forward the hypothesis that resentment is always socially situated and therefore it does not arise from psychological dynamics as generally considered, but from interactive and social dynamics. In the contemporary societies, social actors have growing possibility of individual choice, but they are unable to promote the conditions of equal opportunity required in order to achieve them. An increasingly ambitious and mimetic desire clashes with a selective and competitive reality. As a consequence, a widespread and deep resentment is embedded in everyday social life.
Key words: social theory, emotion, resentment, social relationship, inequality.