Journal article

‘Given it is all so remote from us’: family secrets, ancestral shames and the proximities of emotion

Ashley Barnwell

Emotions and Society | Bristol University Press | Published : 2019


This article examines how families relate emotionally to their ancestors as they deal with the discovery of past family secrets. In response to Eduardo Bericat’s (2012) call for sociologists of emotion to pay closer attention to the ways that ‘emotional experiences happen over time’, I explore how families imagine and register the emotions of the past. To do this, I draw on concepts from the sociology of the family and personal life and cultural studies of affect and emotion. I use these concepts to examine what I term ‘emotional proximities’ within responses from a qualitative survey about intergenerational family secrets. The analysis explores how respondents locate emotions as both the ca..

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