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Memoria e Ricerca

Sentiments, emotions: Possibilities and limits of cultural history

di Rolf Petri
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 40 (2012), p. 75

The first part of the essay tries to elaborate a reasonable itemisation of the three main streams in the history of emotions: that of individual emotions, the study of the role that emotions have in historical processes, and the reflection about the influence of emotions on history writing. The second part is devoted to the methodological and theoretical status of the study of past emotions. The author criticises the definition of emotions as merely cultural phenomena. He argues in favour to a cross-disciplinary and theoretical perspective, and maintains that cultural history of emotions should be able to deconstruct its own history and contextualise historically the very paradigms of “culture” and “emotion”. Key words: Cultural History, History of Emotions, History of Historiography, Feelings, Sentiments, Limits