Emotional Lives explores the changes in emotional cultures that have taken place during the last half century and continue to affect people's identities today. These changes are driven by the culture of consumerism in contemporary post-industrial society and by the emergence of new ideas about public and private life in a time when media culture generates new forms of social relationships and deep personal attachments to celebrity figures. McCarthy shows that people are drawn to public life, not only for entertainment and pleasure but also for its dramas, for memorializing events like disasters, acts of violence, and victimhood. McCarthy's cultural-sociological approach provides new insights about emotions as 'social things' and reveals how today's mass media is an important force for cultural change, including changes in people's relationships, identities, and emotions.
Emotional Lives: Dramas of Identity in an Age of Mass Media
1. Cultural sociology and the study of emotions; 2. Emotions and modern identity; 3. Emotional sites of death and destruction; 4. Mass emotions in an age of mass media; 5. Afterword, writing and thinking about emotions today.