Emotions as regime of justification? The case of civic anger

Ilana F. Silber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The aim of this article is to explore the implications of a specific type of anger - termed here 'civic' anger - with regard to the place of emotions and their relation to regimes of justification in the framework of Boltanski and Thévenot's sociology of critical capacity. Drawing upon interviews with a sample of Israeli philanthropic mega-donors, it will highlight the distinctive features and context-bound operation of civic anger as a type of moral and political emotion that has not yet received its due conceptualization. In the case at hand here, civic philanthropic anger will be shown to correspond to a cultural configuration that included regimes of justification equivalent to those already identified by Boltanski and Thévenot (mainly 'civic' and 'industrial'), but also allowed a distinctive cluster of emotions to develop into an additional, 'quasi' regime of justification ('benevolence'). As such, it points to ways in which a renewed sociology of morality needs enlist the fecund idea of regimes of justification, but also draw more systematic theoretical and empirical attention to the variable and multifaceted relation between emotions and justifications in practices of moral interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-320
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • civic anger
  • emotion
  • philanthropy
  • regimes of justification


Dive into the research topics of 'Emotions as regime of justification? The case of civic anger'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this