Applying Sociological Theories of Emotions to the Study of Mass Politics: The Rally-Round-the-Flag Phenomenon in the United States as a Test Case.

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    • Author-Supplied Keywords:
      collective status
      identity theory
      Iraq War
      peace, war, and social conflict
      public opinion
      September 11
      Sociology of emotions
    • Abstract:
      A remarkable progress has been made in integrating emotions into studies of various aspects of social life, but sociological theories of emotions, which center on group membership and meaning-making, have not been applied to the study of political attitudes and behavior. In order to demonstrate the utility of integrating sociological theories of emotions into the analysis of large-scale political phenomena, this study revisits the rally-round-the-flag effect (i.e., sudden increases in public support for national leaders during war or security crisis). The article claims that rallies are driven by emotional reactions to leaders' rhetoric promising to restore the nation's collective honor and status through military action. Analysis of survey data collected during and between two rally periods (2001–2003) in the United States supports this argument vis-à-vis competing theories of attitude formation that ignore the role of emotions or apply a non-sociological framework that detaches emotions from collective identities and meaning-making. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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    • Author Affiliations:
      1Department of Sociology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
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