This Special Issue deals with emotions in social life and social policy. Over
several decades, a wide body of social scientific literature has shown that
everyday social roles and institutions are defined and organised not only through
rational action, but through human emotions as well. It is now well recognised
that emotions have a central role in the maintenance of gender and other social
structures, whether at work, in family and community life, or in shaping the
dynamics of social movements and politics (Goffman 1963; Hochschild 1983;
Kemper 1990; Holmes 2004; Flam & King 2005; Barbalet 2006; Clarke et al.
2006; Hoggett 2009). To bring together contemporary Australian scholarship
across this broad and burgeoning field, and to expand our knowledge of
emotions as they operate in specific social contexts, researchers from the
Universities of Sydney and New South Wales convened a workshop in
October 2011 titled ‘Emotions in social life and social policy: new advances in
sociological and policy research’.