Affect and atmospheres in the ethnographic between [SIEF Working Group on Body, Affects, Senses, and Emotions (BASE)] 
Deborah Kapchan (New York University)
Birgit Abels (Georg August University Göttingen)
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Body, Affects, Senses, Emotions
Aula 5
Wednesday 17 April, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

How do we understand the role of affect and atmospheres in the co-creation and transformation of social worlds? In this panel we develop new vocabularies for understanding the 'ethnographic between'- what is between body and body, body and sounded environment, and human and non-human.

Long Abstract

How do we understand the role of affect and atmospheres in the co-creation and transformation of social worlds (Brennan 2004; Schmitz 2011)? How imagine a phenomenology of affect and a theory of atmosphere for ethnography? What can scholars gain from such approaches? In short, how to "track" the affect of social transformation and the transformation of social affect?

Academic and theoretical interests emerge from social contexts and political moments. With the current rise in social upheavals (the Arab spring, wars in the Middle East, refugees in Europe, economic and ecological crises) it is not surprising that social theorists have turned to affect and its ethical implications as one pertinent philosophical landscape (Massumi 2002). An understanding of the performativity of affect - what it is (not), what it can(not) do - is essential to any analysis of cultural transformation. At the same time, the re-birth of populist regimes across the globe in recent years suggests that there is another force we urgently need to consider in such analysis: atmospheres and how they are capable of stirring political movements and social transformation.

In this panel we employ theories of the body, sound and listening (Csordas 1987; Ihde 1976; Merleau-Ponty1960) and combine them with recent theories of affect and atmospheres (Abels 2018; Ahmed 2006; Brennan 2004; Eisenlohr 2018; Schmitz 2011). We aim to develop new vocabularies for understanding what is between- between body and body, between body and sounded environment, between human and non-human: the affect and atmospheres of social being.

Accepted papers: