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Accepted Paper:

Researching atmospheres in the dynamics of civic engagement and political subjectivity  
Rainer Kazig (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

Starting from recent concepts that understand political engagement as embedded in the everyday world, this presentation discusses the challenges faced by empirical research in tracking and qualifying atmospheres relevant for the dynamics of this engagement.

Paper long abstract:

The political is often considered as a specific sphere that is separate from the everyday world. More recently, different concepts have arisen (e.g. social capital, ordinary citizenship processes, development of political subjectivity) that take into consideration the embeddedness of civic or political engagement in the everyday, but without explicitly addressing the role of atmospheres. Nevertheless, there are evident possibilities of connectivity to the concept of atmosphere on a theoretical level that enable an understanding of why atmospheres can matter for the development of political engagement. Even if there is evidence at a theoretical level, it is a less obvious matter to grasp the relevant atmospheres in empirical research projects.

The presentation will focus on the three concepts mentioned above, and will discuss research designs and the challenges for tracking and qualifying atmospheres relevant to the dynamics of political engagement. Research on atmospheres in ordinary citizenship processes can build on the ethnographic research tradition in this field. The task is much more difficult for research on political subjectivity, which is based on a biographical approach and faces the problem of grasping atmospheres in biographic accounts. The concept of social capital (Putnam) raises the question of scale in the research on atmospheres, because its development refers to affective spacetimes of larger spatial and temporal extent.

Although this presentation focuses on methodological challenges of research on atmospheres in the context of dynamics of political engagement, its concerns can be of general interest for the research on social atmospheres.

Panel Body02
Affect and atmospheres in the ethnographic between [SIEF Working Group on Body, Affects, Senses, and Emotions (BASE)]
  Session 1 Wednesday 17 April, 2019, -