Aroused assemblages and rapturous rabbles
: collective emotion and emotional dynamics at large-scale social justice events

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This research explores how theories of group and collective emotion can be developed to inform our understanding of emotional collectives and their affective practices (Wetherell, 2012), emotional habitus (Gould, 2009) and sense of togetherness. Utilising a comparative case study approach, three large-scale social justice events (SJEs) in the UK were studied. Semi-structured interviews, with 58 attendees, investigated emotional practices and experience and the verbatim transcripts were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2019). Eleven of the interviewees participated in two of the case studies which provided a longitudinal aspect to the research. Additionally, observational video recordings helped triangulate data and, in the third case study, the novel use of 360-degree video recordings provided an insight into the expression of collective emotion (Knoblauch, Wetzels, & Haken, 2019). The development of an interdisciplinary theoretical framework broadened the scope of this research to include multiple concepts and perspectives of group and collective emotion. Consequently, collective emotion was found to be a dynamic and relational social phenomenon that was influenced by interconnected foreground-background emotional dynamics. Furthermore, collective memory was found to have an inextricable connection and influence on group emotion and affective practices in the present. The findings emphasise the importance of attending to the nuance and complexity of group and collective emotion if real-world social situations, such as sites of contentious politics, are to be appreciated.
    Date of AwardAug 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorJoel Busher (Supervisor) & Gavin Sullivan (Supervisor)

    Cite this