Empathy Usage in the Anthropology of Emotions
Keywords:empathy, empathic understanding, emotions, universalism, relativism
Empathy usage in anthropological research of emotions is connected with the universalistic approach to this phenomenon. The approach is based on the biological assumption that emotions are primarily bodily feelings, internal and personal conditions of individuals, that can be also identified by the physiologically based human ability to understand – empathy. Some representatives of the cultural approach to emotions have thrown away the empathy, understood and applied in such a way. However, variance in the anthropological understandings of both concepts can be distinguished between these two extremes. In the field of anthropology that is interested in the emotional lives of people, the intention of presenting some research results related to the concept of empathy is to provide insight into some of the key conceptions of this phenomenon, and to indicate their dependence on concrete approaches to the concept of emotion. The intention in this field as well is to offer a partial insight into the observed variance in the understandings concerning the empathy usage, the variance which points to the exceptionally alive but also unstable anthropological thought about this concept.
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