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The Politics of Emotion across Anthropology and Geography 
Harry Pettit (University of Newcastle)
Alexander Vasudevan (University of Oxford)
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Advocacy and Activism
Friday 18 September, 13:00-14:30, 15:00-16:30

Short Abstract:

This panel brings together Anthropologists and Geographers to discuss how each discipline can contribute towards the project of examining how emotion/affect feeds into the reproduction of contemporary modes of accumulation, exploitation, and inter-sectional inequality.

Long Abstract

This panel brings together Anthropologists and Geographers to discuss how they can contribute towards understanding the role of emotion/affect in reproducing contemporary modes of accumulation, exploitation, and inequality. Each discipline has debunked the myth that capitalism is a-emotional, a set of relations dominated by bureaucratic and economic rationality and disruptive of intimate attachments. Yet their approach to emotional politics has faced critique. In Geography, non-representational modes of affect theory is accused of disassociating affect/emotion from the discursive, from spatial and social context, and neglecting materialist agendas. Anthropological work has tended towards ethics rather than politics, highlighting how various cosmologies produce alternative emotional configurations amidst the rupturing of capitalist time. And yet in both disciplines a new scholarship is tracing the precise ways emotions emerge from and feed into systems of economic, political, social, and cultural power. This panel builds on these developments by facilitating a critical conversation between Geographers and Anthropologists where they can harness this existing work and take forward the project of explicating the politics of emotion for the contemporary moment.

Key questions include:

What is the analytical purchase of distinguishing between affect and emotion?

How can scholars combine attunement to the affective intensities of everyday life with discursive and material origins/consequences?

How can researchers combine a focus on the ethics of emotion with politics?

What would a radically-engaged project on emotional politics look like in different contexts, does a decolonising impulse re-calibrate this project?

What methodologies are suited to the study of emotional politics?

Accepted papers: