Willem Frijhoff, Emotions squared One can only approve of Catrien Santing’s and Marjan Schwegman’s plea to pay more attention to emotions in the public sphere as a political factor. Their argument concurs with the growing international trend for research into emotionology, emotional culture and emotional regimes. Although I support their argument, I wish to contend that it should involve two more steps. Firstly, emotions cannot properly be understood as agents of change without an analysis of the interference between the agent’s psyche and their public expression. Secondly, as psyche-bound phenomena, emotions in history easily interfere with the historian’s own emotions. In fact, most historical research involves an emotional commitment from the historian. He/she must discern how far his own emotions may be intertwined with his analysis of historical emotions, and use his historical metier to achieve a conscious and always critical mixture of involvement and distance.
This article is part of the forum 'Debat over emoties'.