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When intuitive knowledge fails : emotion, art and resolution.

Sant Cassia, P. (2005) 'When intuitive knowledge fails : emotion, art and resolution.', in Mixed emotions : anthropological studies of feeling. Oxford ; New York: Berg, pp. 109-125.


Starting with Aristotle's suggestion that thought plays a central role in emotion, this chapter explores how in the absence of the bodies of missing persons, mourners find it difficult to express their emotions by 'conventional' means, either through ritual, however inadequate, or through spectacles, however cathartic. In such situations there is a strong tension between emotions-as-beliefs (that the person might return) and intuitive knowledge (that the person is lost forever). The consequent anaesthetization of thought and emotion in attempting to resolve this aporia (the recovery of something which has disappeared) is nevertheless a particularly fertile domain for the cognitive manipulation of the two concepts of "loss" and "absence" through (popular) "naive" art, especially where conventional religion cannot offer soteriological solutions to emotional and symbolic collapse. Emotion, therefore, is not just personal, but sustained through social scaffolding, which provides ways to conceptualise and 'resolve' apories.

Item Type:Book chapter
Keywords:Emotion, Art, Ritual, Aporia, Psychoanalysis.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Record Created:29 May 2007
Last Modified:20 Sep 2011 09:22

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