Two Kinds of Scaffolding for Emotional Experience

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter distinguishes two importantly different ways in which our emotional lives are scaffolded by interpersonal and social environments. I begin by reflecting on what is meant by the term “emotional scaffolding” and suggest that we conceive of it in terms of emotion regulation. Following this, I distinguish between mundane and exceptional forms of scaffolding. Although emotional experiences in general are shaped and regulated by our social surroundings, we also respond emotionally to disturbances of this regulatory structure. Emotional processes that involve recognizing, comprehending, and engaging with losses of established scaffolding are themselves reliant on alternative, exceptional forms of scaffolding. Integral to this reliance, I suggest, is a form of trust, which is importantly different from the practical confidence associated with mundane scaffolding. I conclude by sketching how an enduring sense of being able to rely on other people can sustain the overall structure of human emotional experience during times of upheaval.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Phenomenology of Emotion Regulation: Feeling and Agency
EditorsThomas Fuchs, Philipp Schmidt
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Dec 2024

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