The Emotional Lives of Others

On Nias island, the heart can be ‘squeezed’, ‘hot’, even ‘hairy’. What can anthropology say about unfamiliar emotional zones?

Aeon Magazine
Aug 13 · 15 min read
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Stone/Getty Images Plus

By Andrew Beatty

In his classic thought experiment set out in ‘What Is An Emotion?’ (1884), William James, pioneer psychologist and brother of the novelist Henry, tried to imagine

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