Contemporary society is concerned with anger. While anger usually is considered a destructive emotion threatening rationality and democratic dialogue for instance by contributing to division and racism, it can also challenge injustice, discrimination and inequality. In order for anger to be recognized as legitimate, however, it has to be justified.
Through qualitative case studies across two generations and in different contexts – the court, the job centre, in political groups and subcultures shaped by music such as punk rock, death and trash metal – we examine what anger does in society.
Anger is not only a destructive force of division and exclusion; anger can be mobilized for critique of injustice and can contribute to build communities. This research project examines norms governing anger and the social differentiation of these norms, as we expect the legitimacy of the anger expressions to depend on gender, class, age and ethnicity.
The project aims at achieving a better understanding of the emotional demands that are tacitly at work in social life, as well as of how norms regarding the expression of anger may contribute to a marginalization of disadvantaged groups.