On politics, emotional cultures and social change in times of crisis: an interview with Randall Collins
Copyright (c) 2020 Randall Collins, Alessandro Pratesi, Angela Perulli
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This interview was conducted between the Spring and the Summer 2020 by means of an interactive email exchange. Our conversation with Randall Collins had been planned a few months before the global pandemic as part of ongoing conversations inspired by the creation of an interdisciplinary study group on emotions at the University of Florence, and was eventually boosted by some of the recent developments in global politics and in the pandemic itself. The starting point, is Collins’ original ability to reconcile—through his emotion-based theoretical model (2004)—two significant and allegedly clashing aspects of social life: conflict and solidarity. We then move on to discuss the ways in which current theories of emotions can be reconsidered in light of recent emerging phenomena (such as right-wing populism and nationalism) at an international level. In addition, we introduce the theme of the global health emergency and discuss the role of different emotional cultures in dealing with the pandemic, in Italy and the USA. Finally, we consider whether or not it is possible to talk about ethics of emotions, i.e. whether some emotions can be interpreted as ‘more ethically relevant’ than others within the context of current social and political scenarios.