Emotions in politics: from the ballot to suicide terrorism

Jack Barbalet*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

28 Citations (Scopus)


Politics and emotions have always gone together. The German sociologist, Max Weber, famously observed that action in a political community is ‘determined by highly robust motives of fear and hope’ (Weber 1970, p. 79). It is of interest that almost identical statements were expressed at the very beginning of the period of early modern politics. The English statesman and philosopher, Francis Bacon, wrote that ‘civil states’ offer bribes and punishments, ‘employing the predominant affections of fear and hope’, a possibility that arises from the fact that the ‘government of states’ relies upon ‘the government within’ (Bacon 1905, p. 145; emphasis in original). Similarly, the French writer, Jean-François Senault, in De l’Usage des Passions first published in1641 and translated into English only a short time later, wrote: Policy seems to have better intentions than Rhetorick; for when she excites fear or hope in man, by promises or by threats, she endeavours the welfare of particulars (Senault 1671, p. 174).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmotion, politics and society
EditorsSimon Clarke, Paul Hoggett, Simon Thompson
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9780230627895
ISBN (Print)9781349545780
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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