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Suppression of Emotion: A Danger to Modern Societies?
by Thomas J. Scheff (January 2011)
This essay proposes that suppression of emotions is a key institution in modern societies, and that it underlies the denial of death and both interpersonal and inter-group violence. The thesis begins with a comparison of traditional and modern societies with respect to their treatment of the social-emotional world. Next a relatively minor instance of suppression is considered: wholehearted belief in an afterlife in heaven. The next step in to review a much more serious process: studies that suggest that war and collective conflict, such as terrorism, may be caused by humiliation and vengeance. Finally, some preliminary steps toward change are discussed. more>>>