Evolving Emotional Histories Shape Styles of Persistence

Erika Summers Effler

in Laughing Saints and Righteous Heroes

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780226188652
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226188676 | DOI:
Evolving Emotional Histories Shape Styles of Persistence

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This chapter describes how both STOP and the Workers attempted to avoid threats so that they could create stability out of uncertain conditions. Although both groups narrowed their focus and emotional expectations to protect against the drain of future failure, their techniques changed at a slower rate than their contexts, and as a result drawing on these strategies eventually undermined the groups' future stability. The story about the Catholic Workers shows how they developed aversions to planning and righteous anger in response to numerous failed projects. The story about STOP describes how the group's leaders rejected efforts to establish an internal focus in response to their history of internal conflicts. They maintained their enthusiasm with horror stories about injustices and political corruption, which engendered feelings of righteous anger. The leaders' emotional techniques failed to draw in the lower-level members who were responsible for managing STOP's mundane internal tasks. As a result, lower-level group members frequently left the group after comparatively short periods of involvement. The stories in illustrate how the groups' evolving patterns of action generated rhythmic cycles of negative and positive emotions over time.

Keywords: STOP; Catholic Workers; emotional workers; positive emotions; failure

Chapter.  24137 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Organizations

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