'I felt like a bird without wings': Incorporating the study of emotions into grounded normative theory


This article explores how giving systematic attention to emotions could enhance grounded normative theory accounts. Grounded normative theory, and related approaches featuring an ‘ethnographic sensibility’, involve the conduct of original empirical research and/or analysis in the development of normative arguments. Each has been increasingly visible in normative political theory, focusing on moral claims in contexts such as migration, democratic practice, and grassroots struggles. Yet, while such approaches have sought to sensitively present experiences of injustice and exclusion within such contexts, they have given relatively little attention to the emotional or ‘affective’ turn in normative theory and social science disciplines, where emotions are studied as integral to political/moral claims and the motivation of action. We highlight how a similar emphasis on emotions as integral to political and moral claims could enrich grounded normative theory, in part through presenting an illustrative analysis of emotional expressions by immigration detainees in the UK. We show how such analysis can expand normative inputs, and clarify or reveal normative issues arising in a given empirical context. We also highlight how grounded normative work could enrich normative treatments of political emotions.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-022-00570-9
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Policy
Additional Information: This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use [https://www.springernature.com/gp/open-research/policies/accepted-manuscript-terms], but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-022-00570-9
Uncontrolled Keywords: emotions,affect,grounded normative theory,immigration detention,normative political theory
Publication ISSN: 1476-9336
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2024 07:16
Date Deposited: 13 May 2022 10:43
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Related URLs: https://link.sp ... 296-022-00570-9 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-06
Published Online Date: 2022-08-20
Accepted Date: 2022-04-28
Authors: Tonkiss, Katie (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0671-3357)
Cabrera, Luis



Version: Accepted Version

License: ["licenses_description_other" not defined]

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