Law, Emotion and Affective Community

20 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2018

See all articles by Roger Cotterrell

Roger Cotterrell

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Date Written: July 12, 2018


How should socio-legal theory conceptualise ‘emotion’ as an aspect of social relations that law addresses? This paper uses a concept of affective community – communal social relations dominated by emotional elements – to analyse basic problems for legal regulation that are typical in social relations founded on emotion.

What regulatory challenges does affective community pose that may be unique to it, and how does affective community itself produce, shape or constrain regulation? If relations of community presume a degree of stability (continuity and mutual trust), what, in general, promotes such stability in affective relations and what threatens it? What contribution, if any, can state law make to create or maintain such stable conditions? What general problems exist for state law in intervening in affective community? What kinds of demands can properly be made on law in this area?

By developing the idea of affective community and exploring its regulatory implications, this paper sketches a theoretical framework by means of which fundamental questions about relations of law and emotion can be structured.

Keywords: community, affective relations, emotion, Weber, rationality, legal theory, sociology of law, vengeance, hatred, disgust, love

Suggested Citation

Cotterrell, Roger, Law, Emotion and Affective Community (July 12, 2018). Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 282/2018, Available at SSRN:

Roger Cotterrell (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law ( email )

Mile End Road
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom
+44 (0)207 882 3936 (Phone)
+44(0)208 981 8733 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics