European Journal of International Relations, Ahead of Print.
This article conceives of climate activists as emotion entrepreneurs to explain the emergence of particular emotional responses to climate change. Among these emotional responses is eco-grief or grief felt because of experienced or anticipated ecological losses. I elaborate on the concept of the emotion entrepreneur and theorize the emergence of eco-grief on the basis of a practice theoretical and Bourdieusian approach. I suggest that activists possessing cultural capital are well positioned to introduce new feelings and identify three mechanisms that contribute to explanations of the emergence and growing importance of eco-grief. Objectivation is about the most often reflexive practice of giving names to emotions to turn them into ontological entities. Cultivation is about the creation of social spaces for the experience and regulation of eco-grief among activists. Diffusion is about emotional contagion, the creation of emotional vocabularies, and the spread of activist feeling rules. Research on emotion entrepreneurs moves beyond conceptions of feelings as causes of activism and suggests there is a need for further research on emotional dynamics in heterogenous transnational advocacy coalitions, influences of language on emotions, and feelings rules in late-modern Western societies.