Book recommendation: Between Us - How Cultures Create Emotions
Updated: Dec 13, 2022
This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in human behaviour. I have lived most of my adult life outside of my home country so navigating the kinds of challenges Batja Mesquita talks about really resonate with me.
Her main thesis is that we have MINE and OURS emotions:
MINE stands for emotions INside the person, and Essentialist, meaning that emotions have the same properties in any context. These cultural contexts place an emphasis on the individual and her inner feelings - authenticity and full expression of feelings is celebrated.
OURS describes emotions that originate OUTside the person, Relational and Situated, meaning that emotions take different shapes in different situations. These cultural contexts allow negotiated emotions — emotions that fit social environment and cultural context they exist in. In contrast to MINE cultures, being authentic in such cultures equals to being an immature person.
Different cultural contexts will favour and employ different models - and of course there is a lot of nuance in the book beyond this dichotomy.
I wanted to do a full review of this book but before I had time to write it, several great ones were already published so I will link some of them instead: