- Theorizing Emotional Capital
- Theory and Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 45 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Theorizing a sociology of emotion that links micro-level resources to macro-level forces, this article extends previous work on emotional capital in relation to emotional experiences and management. Emerging from Bourdieu’s theory of social practice, emotional capital is a form of cultural capital that includes the emotion-specific, trans-situational resources that individuals activate and embody in distinct fields. Contrary to prior conceptualizations, I argue that emotional capital is neither wholly gender-neutral nor exclusively feminine. Men may lay claim to emotional capital as a valued resource within particular fields. The concept of emotional capital should be seen as distinct from emotion management and felt emotional experience and distinctions between primary and secondary sources of capital clarify the simultaneously durable and evolving nature of capital and the habitus. To illustrate these conceptual refinements, I use interview and diary data from male nurses. Men bring primary emotional capital, developed during primary socialization, to the nursing profession while also developing secondary capital through occupational socialization centered on empathy and compassion. The construct of emotional capital is refined as a structured yet dynamic resource developed through primary and secondary socialization and activated and embodied in everyday emotion practice.
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