more than the unexamined life, the unemotional life may not be worth living.
concluding statement neatly sums up the rationale behind communication studies Professor
Sally Planalps latest work, Communicating Emotion: Social, Moral, and Cultural
Processes, and precisely captures her passion for the subject.
In Communicating Emotion, Planalp pulls together key writing and research
on emotions to help dispel misconceptions that stand in the way of understanding our own
emotions and communicating those feelings effectively.
Through the lens of emotion, the book also illuminates the complexity and dynamics of
the communication process in general. Her purpose, she says, was to help legitimize
emotion in everyday lives and conversation and demonstrate its pervasive significance.
Emotion does not just belong to the field of psychology, Planalp says.
Communicating Emotion reflects her extensive background reading in philosophy,
history, sociology, anthropology, business and communications. It is intended for advanced
undergraduates, graduate students and professionals.
Planalp, who has spent her professional life studying interpersonal communication, was
drawn to questions of emotional communication because, as she says, thinking does
not explain everything, and emotions are complex forces that very few people understand
Each chapter in Communicating Emotion deals with a different false
dichotomy that occurs in everyday and scholarly thinking about emotion. For example,
reason and emotion often are held to be mutually exclusive. On the contrary, Planalp
writes, each is dependent on the other.
Various chapters concern how important emotion is in everyday communication, how and
why emotion is communicated, whether emotional communication is spontaneous or strategic,
how we construct meaning from emotional communication, the simultaneously personal and
social nature of emotion, how emotional messages contain moral meanings and how well
emotion can be understood across cultures and historical periods.
Planalp liberally spices these chapters with examples from recognizable, personal
situations, thereby bringing out the varied and complicated ways in which emotions flavor
life and our understanding of ourselves and others.