Strategy Seminar 2024: “The Role of Emotions in Politics”

transform! europe Headquarters
Gusshausstrasse 14/3
1040 Vienna


The annual strategic seminar organised by transform! europe and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation has been a point of reference for the work and methodology of our think tanks. This year, we decided to delve into a field that has never been a focus point of the political analyses of the European political left. The role of emotions in politics and, consequently, the relation between this role and the politics of the left. It is a common assumption that emotion motivates and guides social and therefore political behaviour. However, if we go half a step beyond this trivial assumption, we will not find much in the way of understanding on the left about the role of emotions in politics, and we will certainly not find much in the way of actually integrating this dimension into the core of leftist politics, and into the political strategy of promoting it.

The integration of the emotional dimension in politics and political analysis with a systematic and methodological competence (taking into account the necessary interdisciplinary approach) has only started to be observed in the last twenty years, when the so-called “emotional turn” in the social sciences appears. Most social science disciplines are making the same observation, acknowledging the major epistemological shift it has brought about.

The role of emotions in political analysis and action should have been of much more concern to the left, given the proven effect of emotion on the political judgement of people who express political identification with the left. Emotion is evaluated as a functional factor in politics by people who position themselves on the left, while people who believe that it is positive to listen to and express emotions in politics tend to be leftists.

Emotions themselves have a cognitive weight. They also connect to imagination. The left, therefore, shall not underestimate their role and impact on the political attitudes and the political behaviour of the people, not only out of utilitarianism, but also because the left’s utopia to transform the world (and people’s lives) must incorporate the whole “humanism of the humanity”, as phrased by Edgar Morin. The left shall overcome the false dipole of reason and emotion

In the Strategy Seminar “The Role of Emotions in Politics” we bring together, political scientists, sociologists, political psychologists, and psychotherapists to gain knowledge on the field and discuss upon strategic political questions related with the intersection between emotions and politics.

The seminar is open to invited attendees only.
For more information, please contact: Angelina Giannopoulou, Facilitator of “European Integration & Left Strategy”, giannopoulou[at]



(The full programme is available for download under the ‘Documents’ section on the left.)