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Familicidal HeartsThe Emotional Styles of 211 Killers$
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Neil Websdale

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195315417

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195315417.001.0001

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Figurations of Feeling, Haunted Hearts, and Uncanny Acts

Figurations of Feeling, Haunted Hearts, and Uncanny Acts

Familicidal Hearts

Neil Websdale

Oxford University Press

Drawing upon the work of Antonio Damasio, Norbert Elias, Erving Goffman, Charles Horton Cooley, George Herbert Mead, and Raymond Williams, the author develops the notion of emotional styles as a means of addressing the continuities between the visceral, the psychological, the social, and the historical. Using Avery Gordon's language of ghosts and haunting as a metaphorical device, the author sees familicide as an uncanny act, an outcome of the highly charged interplay between emotional styles, familial atmospheres of feeling, and broader-ranging figurations of feeling emergent in modern life. Through the analysis of two cases, the author introduces the idea that offenders are socially disconnected, lacking a sense of place, even in the midst of family life and broader social interdependencies. Familicidal hearts are therefore haunted hearts, souls forged out of the anomic and alienating conditions of modern life.

Keywords:   emotional styles, familial atmospheres of feeling, figurations of feeling, haunted hearts, uncanny acts

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