Emotions and the criminal law: anger and the defence of provocation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the criminal defence of provocation. Drawing on recent research in philosophy, social psychology and the sociology of the emotions, it argues that the common law continues to operate with an outdated and erroneous view of the emotions. Some key features to emerge from this research are: anger, like other emotions, is not an irrational response but often emerges in response to some rational judgement; while we might not be able to control feeling emotions, we do have significant control in how we express our emotions, including whether we express them in violent ways; emotions are highly trainable; the ways they are trained are deeply gendered. Until these insights are incorporated in legal judgements, the laudable intentions motivating law reform to provocation may not get the relevant uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmotions in late modernity
EditorsRoger Patulny, Alberto Bellocchi, Rebecca E. Olson, Sukhmani Khorana, Jordan McKenzie, Michelle Peterie
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781351133319
ISBN (Print)9780815354321
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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