The repressive politics of emotional intelligence (2023)

The answer is Goleman, who seems as oblivious to social injustice today as he was then. For him, the problem is moral decay and "emotional malaise", the price we pay for living "modern lives" riddled with "postmodern dilemmas". The introduction raises many questions, but the rest of the book chronicles more mundane forms of discontent that result from a lack of emotional intelligence: unemployment, divorce, depression, anxiety, boredom. How do you handle skirmishes with your coworkers so that no one wastes precious hours of the workday complaining, sulking, passive-aggressively emailing, or crying in the bathroom? How do you argue with your spouse so that no one raises their hand or threatens to walk away? "Those who are at the mercy of impulse, those who lack self-control, suffer from moral deficiency," writes Goleman. "The question is, how can we make our emotions smart and bring courtesy to our streets and care for our community's lives?"

It is beginning to be understood why the concept of emotional intelligence has gained such wide acceptance. It's not a characteristic or even an attribute, but rather a level of moderation. It's a collection of practices (assessment, feedback, coaching, meditation) for monitoring yourself and others in a way that combines the promise of complete self-fulfillment with the dangers of total social deprivation. Despite all its fair proclamations about what the modern world is all about, its objectives are simply conservative: encourage people to stay in school, obtain a stable job, commit to their jobs, have families and keep them intact to maintain and create to your children. repeat the same cycle of productive activity.

In other words, emotional intelligence is a self-help doctrine deeply committed to the preaching ideology of neoliberalism. The word 'neoliberalism', with its critics and countercritics, has been so casually used that it has almost lost its meaning, that it is worth turning to a definition by Michel Foucault, one of the first theorists to discuss the term. In a series of lectures delivered in 1979 - a few months before Margaret Thatcher took office in Britain and a year before Ronald Reagan was elected president - Foucault described neoliberal ideology as applying an economic model to "every social actor in general, as he or she marries, for example, or commits a crime, or raises the children, nurtures them, and spends time with the children.” Each of these actions could be seen to have certain costs and benefits, certain risks and rewards, which, when properly calculated, would lead to an “optimal allocation of scarce resources to alternative ends”.homo okonomius, committed to the pursuit of absolute personal freedom and reacted to changes in his environment with rational self-interest. He remained "blind" to anything outside his own interest, Foucault claimed.

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In popular psychology, such blindness is elevated to the first principle of the craft, so as to obscure the connection between the psychic and the political. The genre's preferred narrative style is the parable. A fascinating example of human behavior is taken from a newspaper article or research paper. Stripped of the social and historical details that might give it depth and complexity, it provides an easily digestible lesson about good and evil, or, in Goleman's case, the productive and unproductive attributions of emotions in the "underground economy of the psyche."

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The method inevitably leaves its mark, and reading Emotional Intelligence one begins to suspect that Goleman's examples tell only half the story. For a book whose ultimate goal is to urge people to flatter themselves to their peers or to be a little less noisy at their weddings, an impressive number of chapters contain accounts of whimsical murders and occasional violence. A father, inexplicably armed and overcome by his evolutionary fight-or-flight instinct, shoots his daughter to death when she jumps out of a closet to scare him. A paroled heroin addict turns into "bananas", as he later put it, robs an apartment and kills two young women. A famous student stabs his high school physics teacher in the neck, giving Goleman dramatic proof that a high IQ and good grades do not determine success.

If you check Goleman's sources, you'll soon see a pattern in what was left out. The father who shot his daughter? At that time, in 1994, I was living in West Monroe, Louisiana; The state had the highest poverty rate in the country, and city residents told reporters they couldn't even visit a mall without fear of being mugged in the parking lot. The deputy chief on duty that night, who was interviewed by the Associated Press after the shooting, said it shows "how scared people are in their homes these days". The heroin addict who killed the two girls? The example is older, from 1963, and a more familiar story than Goleman lets on. The heroin addict, who was white, was not caught for over a year, while police arrested a young black man, George Whitmore Jr., and extracted a confession from him; The Supreme Court later called the case "the most striking example" of police coercion in the country. What about the boy who stabbed the physics teacher? He was a Jamaican immigrant living in South Florida who allegedly attempted suicide along with his teacher. A judge found the boy temporarily insane due to "his obsession with academic excellence" and his belief that he would rather die than not attend Harvard Medical School. For him, elite American higher education was still the key to the good life.

Start inserting cities and dates to fill in the gaps in the story, and Goleman's diagnoses just seem wrong. This flaw is inherent in the self-help genre, whose premise is that the capacity for change is always within ourselves. Goleman promises to show his readers how to break free of the brain's "emotional hijacking" by biochemical fluctuations, the body's unconscious tendency to activate its own "neural wire." This language, with its references to terrorism and home invasion, encourages readers to stay alert and continually monitor their reactions to align them with accepted rituals of emotional expression.

It is a vision of personal freedom paradoxically achieved through constant self-regulation. "Emotional intelligence" envisions a world made up of little more than a series of civil interactions between boss and employee, husband and wife, friend and neighbor. The only thing that unites people, as Foucault said, is the "instinct, feeling and sympathy" that underlie their mutual success and their common "disgust for the unhappiness of individuals" who cannot control their inner lives.

The concept of emotional intelligence emerged as the global economy was undergoing major structural changes, with the decline of manufacturing and the expansion of the service sector in the world's largest markets. Anyone who has visited a retail store or sat in a classroom knows that service work is a mode of production organized around communicative interactions. He puts Goffman's art of impression management - the gentleness of a salesperson's voice, the grace of a professor's gesture, the charisma of an executive's presentation - at the center of productivity. Arlie Russell Hochschild, in his 1983 book "the administered heart’ coined the term ‘emotional labor’ for this type of work. "Day care centers, nursing homes, hospitals, airports, businesses, call centers, classrooms, social services, dental offices - in all these workplaces, employees do emotional labor, willingly or grudgingly, brilliantly or poorly ,” he wrote. “The poor salesperson working in an elite fashion boutique manages envy. The Wall Street stockbroker is driving the panic."

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Since most service work cannot be made more efficient by machines, the only way to increase the productivity of emotional labor is to encourage employees to demonstrate more convincing emotions, both to others and to themselves. Hochschild points out, "the ambiguity between real work but feeling disapproved on the one hand and idealized on the other" to an economic burden. Emotional labor involves minimizing that pinch and turning a superficial narrative into a deep conviction.

What appeared in Hochschild as a Marxist feminist critique of alienation among service workers reappears in Goleman as serious advice on what one must do to get ahead, or perhaps just to survive. By transforming "emotional labor" into "emotional intelligence", Goleman replaces the concrete social relationship between an employee and his employer with a vague individual aptitude. Hochschild's envious and inflexible salesman reappears in Goleman's book, now adapted for her purposes. She became irritable and depressed. "So her sales go down, which makes her feel like a failure, which fuels her depression," explains Goleman. His suggested solution is: More work, better work, more pleasure at work, first as a superficial distraction, then as a deep ointment: "Sales are less likely to slow down, and the experience of making a sale can boost your confidence." Your ability to control and channel your negative emotions will pay off both financially and morally. Besides, what choice do you have if you want to keep your job and make a living?

The emotional labor that alienates workers from their inner feelings reshapes the seemingly private domain of the self as an extension of social and corporate interests. These attacks raise the question of the extent to which each emotion originates and is uniquely one's own. Are impersonal market structures hijacking people's natural abilities for empathy and warmth? Or do people accurately replicate the smiles and lines bestowed upon them through advertisements, training programs and hospitality scripts? Only one thing seems certain: the more we experience emotional contractions as a fictional display rather than a real feeling, the greater our psychological anxiety becomes. "When work demands display, sentiment often needs to change," writes Hochschild. There are many reasons for the worker to believe the script he is reciting. He gains nothing and risks everything to claim his freedom.

While the concept of emotional intelligence keeps certain types of workers fearful and docile, it also makes the emotional lives and working conditions of off-duty workers completely irrelevant. You can see this in the limited selection of players in Goleman's success stories; Without exception, the emotionally intelligent seem to be managers, engineers, consultants, doctors, lawyers, and teachers. For him, the only relevant question is who will prevail: "the manipulative boss of the jungle" or "the virtuoso of interpersonal skills" who "leads with the heart". Its implied reader is someone capable of "letting go of the little worries: health, bills, even a good job"; someone for whom "going bankrupt" is as unlikely as "a loved one dying in a plane crash." Never mind that in some states the chance of declaring bankruptcy is one in two hundred, while the chance of losing a loved one in a plane crash is one in eleven million. In Goleman's universe, both are equally unthinkable.

Time has not been kind to "emotional intelligence" and it is now too easy a target for criticism. But it's also critical: the ideas that drive it are everywhere, and their appeal is hard to deny. After all, what could be wrong with requiring people to look out for each other and be aware of how their actions affect others?

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Perhaps the best answer is to reinvent the concept in a way that shows what's behind it. Think of Emotional Intelligence and the books that grew out of it as morality plays for a secular age, performed before an audience of mostly white professionals. In a theater that admits of no light or sound from the outside world, the audience watches as poor, dirty workers and criminals are led onto the stage to shoot their children and stab their teachers. Bitten by the masked vices of anger, depression and fear, shamed by the thinly veiled virtues of empathy, mindfulness and reason, gamers have no chance of redemption. They cannot learn the lessons of emotional intelligence.

When the screen falls, the spectators turn to one another to talk in a low voice about how to teach their children to avoid that fate, how to live happily in a world in which they are obliged to be molested by the violent impulses of their will. The others. Even in the front row, they don't see that the masks and veils hide a reality in which they are no freer than the judges. Removing the mask would reveal a helplessness they all share. And it could allow the audience and the cast to stand up and be angry in the right amount, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way with the right people who have been doing it for the last twenty years. 🇧🇷 five years, he sold them some of the most seductive and quietly repressive ideas in recent history.


What are the criticisms of emotional intelligence? ›

Three key criticisms that have been leveled at emotional intelligence include: (1) EI is poorly defined and poorly measured; (2) EI is a new name for familiar constructs that have been studied for decades; and (3) claims about EI are overblown.

What is the dark side of emotional intelligence? ›

It's a tool. In other words, emotional intelligence can be used for good or evil. This is the dark side of emotional intelligence: using one's knowledge of emotions to strategically achieve self-serving goals.

What are the 5 constructs of emotional intelligence? ›

  • Self-awareness. Self-awareness is about recognising and understanding your emotions – what you're feeling and why – as well as appreciating how they affect those around you. ...
  • Self-regulation. ...
  • Motivation. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Social skills.
Apr 28, 2021

Why emotional intelligence is on the decline? ›

Other studies have found that self-esteem, assertiveness, narcissism, and high expectations have increased in recent decades. Researchers typically attribute these changes to Western society becoming increasingly individualistic – that is, a society that increasingly values materialism and competition.

Why emotional intelligence is an invalid concept? ›

Locke (2005) has argued that EI is not a form of intelligence as it is typically understood, that is, as the grasping of concepts, especially higher order or abstract concepts. In addition, it has been argued that EI is often defined in such a broad and inclusive manner that it has become meaningless. ...

Do geniuses lack emotional intelligence? ›

IQ and EQ have a complicated relationship. Past research on the EQ (or EI, for emotional intelligence) of gifted people has yielded inconclusive results. Some studies have shown that gifted people have higher EQ, some studies have shown the opposite, and others have found no difference between the two groups.

Which 3 characteristics below are commonly associated with high emotional intelligence? ›

According to Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who popularised the term 'emotional intelligence', EQ consists of:
  • Self-awareness.
  • Self-regulation.
  • Motivation.
  • Empathy.
  • Social skills.
Apr 13, 2021

Why do psychologists criticize the idea of emotional intelligence? ›

Some have also criticized the idea that emotional intelligence is an actual form of intelligence, rather than a set of behaviours related to general intelligence and applied to the domain of emotions. To this end, EI can be considered more as a set of skills, than actual intelligence.

What are the 7 signs of emotional intelligence? ›

Emotional Intelligence Part II: 7 Signs of Strong EQ
  • Getting Along Well/Interest In Others. ...
  • Self-Awareness of Strengths and Weaknesses. ...
  • Operating With Integrity. ...
  • Self-Awareness of Feelings. ...
  • Present-Focused. ...
  • Self-Motivated. ...
  • Well-Placed Boundaries.

What are the 3 models of emotional intelligence? ›

There are three main branches of emotional intelligence - the ability model, the trait model and the mixed model. There are three main branches of emotional intelligence – the ability model, the trait model and the mixed model.

What are the six principles of emotional intelligence? ›

Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and team leadership are defined and, hopefully, understood as to their role in emotional intelligence.

Who created the 4 pillars of emotional intelligence? ›

Daniel Goleman

In this past column, he reviews the four domains of EI. Do these situations sound familiar?

What are the 2 specific skills of emotional intelligence? ›

The key skills for building your EQ and improving your ability to manage emotions and connect with others are: Self-management. Self-awareness.

Which generation has the most emotional intelligence? ›

Older generations score higher on emotional intelligence assessments than each successively younger generation – and as a result: form stronger relationships, perform more effectively at work, and achieve higher wellbeing. The short answer: Boomers. Followed by Gen X, and then Millennials.

Is emotional intelligence born or learned? ›

Some people are born with EQ, while others can think of it as a skill set that needs to be acquired. With practice, it's possible to develop or strengthen it.

Is emotional intelligence overrated? ›

For Hiring and Promotion Decisions, Research Shows Emotional Intelligence Is Definitely Overrated.

Is emotional intelligence scientifically valid? ›

Most of the experts agreed that there is scientific evidence for emotional intelligence. This is because EI scores can predict other measurable outcomes, in a similar way to IQ. High ability EI has been shown to correlate with positive relationships and career success.

Can emotional intelligence be faked? ›

Don't use empathy, listening, or self-awareness to manipulate others. It's possible to fake emotional intelligence. Similar to knockoffs of luxury watches or handbags, there are emotions and actions that look like the real thing but really aren't.

What is the opposite of emotional intelligence? ›

What is the opposite of emotional intelligence?

Do people with high IQ have high EQ? ›

IQ is a measure of cold logical intelligence, EQ is a measure of fuzzy feelings intelligence. They're both linked, so you can have a high EQ and a high IQ. There are loads of benefits to having high EQ and IQ scores.

Do narcissists have emotional intelligence? ›

Some narcissists have supreme confidence in themselves, and also have the emotional intelligence — the ability to read people and to act accordingly — to nurture lasting allies. At the extreme of both, such a person could be a presidential candidate or a manipulative sociopath — or both.

Are intelligent people emotionally immature? ›

The cliche that intelligent people are emotionally immature may be more false than true because research does show that emotional intelligence is associated with academic achievement and academic achievement is an indication of intelligence.

What is a high EQ person like? ›

When you're emotionally intelligent, you understand yourself at a deeper level. That means recognizing both your strengths and your weaknesses. You're confident about what you contribute and where you need help from others. You're also in tune with your emotions.

What are the 3 pillars to develop high EQ? ›

There are four pillars to emotional intelligence:
  • self-awareness,
  • self-management,
  • social awareness, and.
  • relationship management.
May 20, 2021

What is one argument against the idea of emotional intelligence as a type of intelligence? ›

The argument that it cannot be measured easily is the one that is used against emotional intelligence. It is observed that it is difficult to measure the intelligence of an individual.

What is one of the main criticisms of EQ in relation to personality? ›

One of the primary criticisms of the theoretical foundation of EQ is the assumption made within certain models of EQ that Emotional Intelligence is a form of true intelligence.

Why emotional intelligence is so critical to leaders today? ›

Emotional intelligence develops a positive work culture in the organization, which vicariously increases efficiency and productivity. It instigates growth, innovation, and creativity in the organization and team members. It constantly motivates team members and leaders to put their best foot forward.

What is the 25 5 rule emotional intelligence? ›

The 25/5 rule

According to the legend, Buffet told his pilot to first make a list of his top 25 career goals, and then to circle the top five goals. To remain focused on accomplishing goals one through five, the pilot would need to keep away from the other goals.

What triggers emotional intelligence? ›

Being Aware of Triggers Is Essential to Emotional Intelligence. When we are triggered without awareness of our emotions, we react in a certain way out of habit. Our typical emotional reaction developed because we have a need we want met (conscious or unconscious).

What does an emotionally intelligent person look like? ›

Emotionally intelligent people tend to have strong social skills, probably because they are so attuned to their own feelings as well as those of others. They know how to deal with people effectively, and they are invested in maintaining healthy social relationships and helping those around them succeed.

What are the 8 types of emotional intelligence? ›

And these are the eight evolutionary steps to do so!
  • Identifying and labeling feelings. ...
  • Assessing the intensity and duration of feelings. ...
  • Expressing feelings. ...
  • Controlling impulses. ...
  • Delaying gratification. ...
  • Reducing stress. ...
  • Knowing the difference between feelings and actions.
May 21, 2019

What are the 5 domains of intelligence? ›

Goleman identifies the five domains of EQ as: 1) knowing your emotions; 2) managing your own emotions; 3) motivating yourself; 4) recognizing and understanding other people's emotions; and 5) managing relationships.

What are the 4 key dimensions of intelligence? ›

For example, in his 2003 book “A Himalayan Trinity” Mark Oliver (Founder of MarkTwo) identified four fundamental intelligences - IQ, EQ (Emotional Intelligence), PQ (Physical Intelligence) and SQ (Spiritual Intelligence).

What are two criticisms of intelligence tests? ›

Other criticisms of intelligence tests include:
  • They measure only a small portion of different types of intelligence and in doing so, dismiss the importance of practical skills, creativity, morality, and personal character.
  • Creators of IQ tests believe and/or suggest that intelligence is static and unchangeable.

What are the criticisms that have been leveled against intelligence tests? ›

IQ tests are also criticized because the results are often used to label some students as slow learners. Finally, IQ tests do not offer information on motivation, emotion, attitudes, and other similar factors that may have a strong bearing on a person's success in school and in life.

What are 3 criticisms of IQ tests? ›

IQ tests have the potential to inaccurately measure an individual's intelligence and cause problems including low confidence, unrealistic expectations, and just a generally flawed understanding of a person's potential.

Why are intelligence tests biased? ›

Tests can be biased in terms of impact (e.g., how they are used) and statistically. Tests can be biased if they treat groups unfairly or discriminate against diverse groups by, for example, “underestimating their potential or over-pathologizing their symptoms” (Suzuki et al., 1996, p. xiii).

Is the intelligence cycle flawed? ›

Because of restrictions of information sharing, psychological barriers, fears of compromising sources, and security concerns, the intelligence collection process and the intelligence analytic process not only operate in parallel, they are sometimes quite independent of each other. This is a major problem.

Why is it difficult to measure intelligence? ›

Further reasons why IQ tests may not measure intelligence

The previous experience and education of the person tested. His degree of familiarity with the subject matter of the test. His motivation or desire to achieve a good score, in the appropriate time frame. His rapport with the tester.

Why are IQ tests so inaccurate? ›

According to one recent study, IQ tests are misleading because a minimum of three different exams are needed to measure someone's brainpower and that different circuits within the brain are used for different thought processes.

Which theory of intelligence is criticized for lacking empirical evidence? ›

Among cognitive psychologists, Gardner's theory has been heavily criticized for lacking empirical evidence. However, educators continue to study and use Gardner's theory, with some colleges even discussing how they integrate Gardner's theory into their classrooms.

What is cultural bias in intelligence testing? ›

Cultural bias in testing refers to a situation where the scores on a test are significantly higher or lower between cultural groups and are better able to predict the future performance of one cultural group than the rest of the population.

What is the IQ of Mensa? ›

In practice, qualifying for Mensa in the top 2% means scoring 132 or more in the Stanford-Binet test, or 148 or more in the Cattell equivalent.

What are the disadvantages of high IQ? ›

Read on and find out what really bugs super-smart people.
  • You often think instead of feel. ...
  • You might not learn the value of hard work. ...
  • People frequently expect you to be a top performer. ...
  • People may get annoyed that you keep correcting them in casual conversation. ...
  • You tend to overthink things.
Aug 24, 2015

Are IQ tests 100% accurate? ›

Today, IQ tests alone are not considered reliable enough to diagnose a mental disability, and other factors must be considered as well. High or genius-level IQ scores are 140 or above. However, because 68% of all scores fall into the 85-115 range, anything above 115 can be classified as above average.


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