Emotional intelligence in the age of liquid modernity: a cultural construct for the 21st century
Harriss, Ian (2005) Emotional intelligence in the age of liquid modernity: a cultural construct for the 21st century. In Social Change in the 21st Century, 28 October 2005, QUT Carseldine, Brisbane.
In the 1990s Emotional Intelligence (EI) emerged as a major phenomenon.
Today, its influence can be seen in Psychology, in Organisational Theory, and
in Human Resource Management. To date, most theoretical and empirical
work on the concept has taken place within the disciplines of Psychology and
Management. Remarkably, the disciplines of Cultural Studies and History
have remained relatively silent on the issue of EI.
This paper seeks to redress that imbalance. Using Bauman's work on liquid
modernity as a starting point, I seek to show how EI is a cultural construct of
the knowledge-based economies that characterise the present age of
globalisation. In this sense, EI can be seen as a postmodern advance
beyond that great construct of modernity: IQ. Certainly, EI is perfectly suitable
for a more democratised workplace, where hierarchies of power and
managerial control have given way to lateral networks and flattened
organisational structures. Considered as a cultural construct, the concept also
has much to tell us about the contemporary human subject as well as the
I shall argue, however, that the concept remains trapped between modernity
and postmodernity. This is because it retains many of the essentialist
assumptions of IQ, despite superficial appearances to the contrary. Lastly, I
shall argue that Cultural Studies and History have much to offer to those who
seek an understanding of the potential and the limitations of EI.
It should be noted, however, that although the terms modernity and
postmodernity might more commonly be used, and in fact could be used, I
shall use the terms 'solid modernity' and 'liquid modernity'. For reasons that I
hope shall become clear, these terms seem more evocative in the context of
the argument that I make.
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|Item Type:||Conference Paper|
|Keywords:||emotional intelligence, solid modernity, liquid modernity|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)|
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200)
|Divisions:||Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research|
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2005 Ian Harriss|
|Deposited On:||06 Feb 2006|
|Last Modified:||09 Jun 2010 22:30|
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