What is love? discourse about emotions in social sciences

Simone Belli, Rom Harré, Lupicinio Íñiguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The study of emotions has been one of the most important areas of research in the Social Sciences. Social Psychology has also contributed to the development of this area. In this article we analyse the contribution of social Psychology to the study of emotion, understood as a social construct, and its strong relationship with language. Specifically, we open a discussion on the basis of the general characteristics of the Social Psychology of emotions and the contributions from different disciplines in this area of research, to give meaning to the relationship they have with the language of emotions. In this regard, we have reviewed basic references for the study of the construction of an emotion, and thematically classified them into three broad categories: 1) Contributions from different backgrounds and perspectives; 2) Construction and de-construction studies of emotion, and 3) Postconstructionist studies of emotion. In the first category, we consider the main contributions from the Social Sciences, which can be summarized in two areas: philosophical-construction of an emotion; mainstream-psychology of emotion. In the second category we have began with the relationship between emotion and language and the social construction of emotion, i.e., its discursive status. We end with postconstructionist theories, i.e., Butler's concept of performance and technoscience. To give more meaning to this line of research, the use of a concrete example of emotion seemed appropriate. Thus, we chose “love”. © 2010, Versita Warsaw. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-270
JournalHuman Affairs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • language
  • love
  • performance
  • social construction of emotion
  • technoscience


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