Gefühlsbildung (The Formation of Feeling)
Röttger-Rössler, Birgitt – 2019
The German term Gefühlsbildung, translated here as “the formation of feeling,” takes the threefold semantics of Bildung (as education, formation, and emergence) and transfers these to the appearance and stabilization of emotion repertoires. Hence, Gefühlsbildung has a broad spectrum of meanings encompassing not only the explicit ways in which feelings and emotions are purposefully taught and influenced but also the more implicit processes by which feelings and emotions take form in everyday social interactions. Both dimensions of “the formation of feeling” depend on the given socio-political structures as well as the values and norms of a specific social or cultural group. The notion of Gefühlsbildung proposed here is differentiated from the more general term of “emotion socialization” and restricted to intentional and purposeful forms of emotional modulation. It takes place both in institutional settings such as kindergartens, schools, or psychotherapeutic intervention centers, as well as in self-enhancement programs and informal social communication processes. Thus, investigating processes of Gefühlsbildung means focusing primarily on the explicit facets of emotional socialization and analyzing related social practices.