De emotionalisering van de samenleving? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 134 Number 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



A historiographical consensus seems to exist regarding the development of an ‘emotion culture’ in the Netherlands in the second half of the twentieth century. This process of emotionalisation involves an increase in the public expression and manifestation of emotions from the 1970s onwards. This period is often contrasted with the immediate post-war years. This article asks whether Dutch society has indeed become more emotional in the public sphere. Using computational text analysis and four different digitized historical datasets, the manifestation of emotions in historical language is systematically and diachronically investigated. The assumption that emotionality is reflected in an increase in the use of emotional words is fundamental to our approach. This study did not find empirical evidence for the existence of a period of silence and concealment of emotions, nor for a strong increase in emotional manifestations from the 1970s onwards. On the contrary we conclude that the period 1945-89 experienced stability and continuity in the public manifestation of emotions.


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