Emotion – Justice – Interaction (EmoJI)

This research group engages in three themes that are central to social science research: Emotion, Justice, and Interaction. They are relevant as separate phenomena as well as for being related to each other.

Emotion research in the social sciences spans all analytical levels. As drivers of social action, emotional processes are involved in social phenomena from individual reflexivity to structurally patterned limitations and opportunities. Emotions, both on an individual and collective level are always to some extent managed. The norms or regimes guiding the management of emotion are often found to play out differently for different groups, both in private life and at work. Emotions also shape rational action by underpinning and directing cognitive abilities. Members of the EmoJI-group are interested in questions of identity and emotion, private and professional emotions, cross-cultural study of emotion and the role of emotion for rational action. What role does emotion and emotion management play in arenas where they are expected to be ‘put aside’?

Justice in our take has double connotations: it refers to the institution of law, but also to social justice in a more general sense. Socio-legal studies are increasingly pertinent due to the process of juridification in modern society. EmoJI members take an interest in the policy processes where laws are made, in the organization of the legal system, in the day-to-day practice of legal institutions and professionals, and finally, in the consequences of legal decisions on the people whose situation is at stake. Social justice is a normative notion that reflects scholarly engagement in contributing to a better society. In what sense has justice been accomplished in a given situation?

Interaction represents the analytical and methodological approaches to emotions and justice that is at the core of the research in this group. The interactional approach highlights how individual propensities and structural conditions are enacted and negotiated. In interaction, social structures are reproduced and sometimes transformed. Interaction occurs face-to-face, but increasingly through various kinds of media. Interaction is investigated in its own right, but also as a means to cast light on the meaning of organizations, norms, financial resources and other conditions that impact on social processes. How do professionals manage value-conflicts in communication?

Due to their interrelatedness, it is often fruitful to investigate emotions and justice in combination. Norms and values underpinning laws and ideas about social justice are strongly linked to emotions. Emotions are both enacted in, and may simultaneously influence interaction. Similarly law structures interaction while law-making is an interactional accomplishment.

Such intersections between the themes can be investigated both conceptually and empirically. Members of the group have undertaken empirical work in different institutional settings, such as courts, social welfare agencies and civil society organizations. Research questions may revolve around how decision-making is accomplished, how problems or solutions are socially constructed or how power relations are unfolding.

EMOJI was established in 2019 by Stina Bergman Blix and Stefan Sjöström and aims to promote and conduct research on emotion, justice and interaction. This will be done theoretically, empirically and methodologically. The research group holds regular seminars with internal as well as invited presenters, organises workshops and conferences, initiates research collaborations and facilitates national and international networking.

We offer PhD supervision for students admitted to the PhD Programmes in Sociology and Social Work, and give PhD courses relating to our topics. The group encourages master students at the department who are interested in emotions, justice and/or interaction to participate in our seminars. We further welcome visiting students and researchers who are interested in our field to Uppsala for extended or brief visits.