The emotionalization of reflexivity

Mary Holmes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    280 Citations (Scopus)


    Reflexivity refers to the practices of altering one's life as a response to knowledge about one's circumstances. While theories of reflexivity have not entirely ignored emotions, attention to them has been insufficient. These theories need emotionalizing and this article proposes that emotions have become central to a subjectivity and sociality that is relationally constructed. The emotionalization of reflexivity not only refers to a theoretical endeavour but is a phrase used to begin to explore whether individuals are increasingly drawing on emotions in assessing themselves and their lives. It is argued that dislocation from tradition produces a reflexivity that can be very dependent on comparing experiences and can move others to reflect and reorder their own relations to self and others. Thus, emotions are crucial to how the social is reproduced and to enduring within a complex social world.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)139-154
    Number of pages16
    JournalSociology-The Journal of The British Sociological Association
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


    • Detraditionalization
    • Emotions
    • Reflexivity
    • Routine action
    • Symbolic interaction


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