Weeping and transformations of self

Jack Barbalet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


All relevant sources agree that weeping is a human universal. There is disagreement, though, as to whether tears experienced during episodes of happiness or joy derive from the experience of joy itself, or whether such tears result merely from incidental physical constriction of the lacrimal gland (Darwin [1872]) or from a "sadness rebound" induced by anticipated loss of the source of joy (Feldman [1956]; Katz [1999]). It is argued here that adult weeping does not exclusively express suffering but rather is an emotional and physical register of changes in self, both positive and negative. In outlining the argument concerning weeping the paper also presents an account of the registration and consolidation of changes in self-identity and self-feelings, and therefore provides an account of the internal process of transformation of self.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalJournal for the Theory of Social Behaviour
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


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