We typically think of emotional states as highly individualised and subjective. But visceral gut feelings like discomfort can be better understood as collective and public, when they reflect implicit biases that an individual has internalised. Most of us evade discomfort in favour of comfort, often unconsciously. This inclination, innocent in most cases, also has social and political consequences. Research has established that it is easier to interact with people who resemble us and that such in-group favouritism contributes to subtle forms of discrimination. If we want a more equal and unbiased society, we have a duty to expose ourselves to more discomfort. Living up to this duty requires an enhanced emotional vocabulary that captures the political dimensions of physiological affect. I argue that a better understanding of what I call interaction discomfort can mitigate subtle forms of discrimination.
|Journal||Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Carlsberg Foundation under grant no. CF16-0580.
- Emotional synchrony
- Implicit bias
- Structural discrimination