How Many Emotions Does Film Studies Need? A Phenomenological Proposal

Julian Hanich*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
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    A look at current emotion research in fi lm studies, a field that has been thriving for over three decades, reveals three limitations: (1) Film scholars concentrate strongly on a restricted set of garden-variety emotions—some emotions are therefore neglected. (2) Their understanding of standard emotions is often too monolithic—some subtypes of these emotions are consequently overlooked. (3) The range of existing emotion terms does not seem fine-grained enough to cover the wide range of affective experiences viewers undergo when watching films—a number of emotions might thus be missed. Against this background, the article proposes at least four benefits of introducing a more granular emotion lexicon in fi lm studies. As a remedy, the article suggests paying closer attention to the subjective-experience component of emotions. Here the descriptive method of phenomenology—including its particular subfield phenomenology of emotions—might have useful things to tell film scholars.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)91-115
    Number of pages25
    JournalProjections: the journal for movies and mind
    Issue number2
    Early online date1-Jun-2021
    Publication statusPublished - Aug-2021


    • film studies
    • emotion
    • phenomenology
    • psychology
    • experience
    • standard scenes

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