Je sors d’une passionnante interview avec le sociologue Thomas Scheff, dont voici un premier extrait.

M. S. : How did you start your research on emotions?

T. S. : When I was 40 years old, that was 42 years ago. I had some very intense experience with emotions, myself, in my ow personal life. I was depressed and I got some help with the depression and I exprerienced extremely intense episodes of fear and grief and anger, and shame. I was going though a divorce and my wife took the childeren to hawaii, and I was missing my childeren, I got depressed.

M. S. : and your encounter with Erving Goffman had something to do with it?

T. S. : I didn’t understand Goffman, even though he was my adviser. He was way over my head. I didn’t get much from him, until I had this personal experience, and then I began to understand why people might be interested in emotions.

M. S. : If we remain unaffected by something that – we know – affects our lives, isn’t it because of this belief that « introspection » would lead to make terrible « jugements » upon ourselves ?

T. S. : Yes, I wouldnt’ put it that way but basicly, what people do with most emotions is to hide them, from others and from themselves. And that’s what you’re talking about. By the time, in our teams, we become quite adapt at distracting ourselves from feelings that we know, or think might be painfull. So, most emotions are not felt, at least for very long … it might be a split seccond of a jabbing pain, which you immediately … cover over. People learn to be quite adapt at hiding their own emotions from others and from themselves