A debate in a city council committee is described in which a 'rational' discussion of issues was overwhelmed not by political allegiances but by emotional issues of group identity and fairness. The case illustrates how such 'proxy debates' can arise, where the emotional issue is different from the theme that is officially discussed.
Social emotions are in-built emotional tendencies that regulate interaction in groups: status striving, reciprocity and group identity. While the social emotions are critical for social competence in general, they may be triggered with destructive effects in some group situations. The case allows discussing the social emotions, inappropriate triggers, and how the triggers may be managed.
- Committee debates
- Social emotions
- Group dynamics. AR2003