Affect and its Methods

06. Jan. 2016 17:01

Öffentliche Vorträge im Rahmen des Graduiertenkollegs

[Mi] 20.01.2016, 18 Uhr / Eintritt frei
Universität Hamburg, Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1 (Ost), Raum 122

Carsten Stage (Aarhus): Cancer and Social Media – Assemblages of Affect, Participation and Value
Marie-Luise Angerer (Potsdam):It’s Not Easy to Deal Scientifically with Affect

[Mo] 25.01.2016, 18 Uhr / Eintritt frei
Universität Hamburg, Allende-Platz 1, Raum 250

Steven D. Brown (Leicester)
Organizational Affective Atmospheres: The Social Topology of a Secure Forensic Psychiatric Unit


Affekte waren lange Zeit vor allem ein Forschungsinteresse der Psychologie oder der Psychoana- lyse. In der letzten Zeit sind sie jedoch zu einem viel diskutierten Untersuchungsgegenstand der Philosophie und der Kultur- sowie Sozialwissenschaften geworden. Aus diesem Grund sprechen verschiedene Autor_innen schon seit ein paar Jahren von einem „affective turn”, um diesem neuen wissenschaftlichen Trend zu bezeichnen. Es fällt allerdings auf, dass viele Arbeiten zu Affekten zu abstrakt und unkonkret sind, um direkt für empirisch arbeitende Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften anschlussfähig zu sein.

Die Vorträge der Veranstaltungsreihe versuchen, aus ihren jeweiligen Forschungsfeldern heraus Ant- worten darauf zu geben, wie Affekte beobachtet werden können. Lassen sie sich nur in ihren Effekten beobachten oder gibt es einen direkten Zugang zum Phänomen? Inwieweit sind bestehende sozial- und kulturwissenschaftliche Methoden der Forschung über Gefühle anschlussfähig oder müssen sie neu konturiert werden? Welche experimentellen Setups erlauben es, Affekte als kollektive Phänome- ne und damit jenseits der Beobachtung einer individuellen Handlung oder eines individuellen Körpers zu beobachten?

Für das Graduiertenkolleg „Lose Verbindungen” ist es dabei besonders interessant herauszufinden, wie es möglich ist, von der Beobachtung eines einzelnen Körpers oder einzelner Affekte auf die af- fektive Eigenlogik von Kollektiven wie Paniken, Räusche, Ansteckungs- oder Interaktionsprozessen zu schließen.


Carsten Stage (Aarhus)

Cancer and Social Media - Assemblages of Affect, Biological Citizenship and Valuation

The lecture will investigate the current rise of activist and entrepreneurial forms of cancer communi- cation on social media platforms. Here individual narratives of suffering, treatment, and sometimes healing, are increasingly intertwined with crowdfunding activities and mobilisation in relation to health care issues. The talk will approach these illness narratives as taking part in highly complex and dilem- matic assemblages of affect, valuation (measured in e.g. donation, like, share or comment scores) and biological citizenship.

Carsten Stage is Associate Professor at the Department of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. Previous publications include Global Media, Biopolitics, and Affect: Politicising Bodily Vulnerability (Routledge, 2015), Affective Methodologies: Developing Cultural Research Strate- gies for the Study of Affect (co-ed, Palgrave, 2015), and ‘The Online Crowd’ in Distinktion (2013). He is co-editor of Conjunctions: Transdisciplinary Journal of Cultural Participation. His current research focuses on illness communication, cultural participation, affect, and social media.



Marie-Luise Angerer (Potsdam)

It’s Not Easy to Deal Scientifically with Affect

It is not easy to deal scientifically with feelings, wrote Sigmund Freud in Civilization and Its Discontents (1930). In spite of this, psychoanalysis has dealt more thoroughly than any other scientific discipline with feelings and affects, and with their repression and displacement. Today, however, they are also being dealt with by a huge range of disciplines in the humanities and sciences. Affect has become the buzz word for those moments in human life which are spontaneous, impulsively, physical, bodily: beyond control and (self-)consciousness. Against a long and complex tradition of defining affect (pathos, emotions, etc.) and various experimental fields of producing affect artificially/technically (film, media, games) I will discuss the methodological challenges of /for affect studies.

Marie-Luise Angerer is professor of Media Studies at the Department for Art and Media, University of Potsdam. Visiting fellowships in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. The focus of her research is on media technology, affect and neuroscientific reformulations of desire, sexuality, and the ‘moving’ body. Her most recent publications include Desire After Affect (2014), Timing of Affect (with Bernd Bösel and Michaela Ott, 2014), Choreography, Media, Gender (with Yvonne Hardt and Anna-Carolin Weber, 2013), numerous articles in books and journals on the topic of affect, art, and media theory



Steven D. Brown (Leicester)

Organizational Affective Atmospheres: The Social Topology of a Secure Forensic Psychiatric Unit

Organized settings are primarily experienced through what Kathleen Stewart (2011) calls ‘atmosphe- ric attunements’. Atmospheres can be understood as circulating forces that afford possibilities for thought and action (see also Borch, 2009). Drawing on the language and analytic strategies of to- pology, these forces can be mapped in respect to the regions, boundaries and vectorial spaces of free movement that they constitute. The tools for this work are provided by a reinterpretation of Kurt Lewin’s (1936; 1945) account of ‘life space’ as the material and conceptual affordances that are ac- tualized in lived experience. We use this toolkit to discuss material drawn from an empirical study of a medium-secure forensic unit. The physical topography of security – walls, locked doors, constraints on movement – does not prevent relations from over-spilling and extending into the community. The affective atmosphere of the unit varies through the circulation of distributed and mediated relations that cut across any straightforward distinction between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. Doing time on the unit – whether as patient or staff – principally involves become attuned to fluctuations in atmosphere and being alive to their implications for expected and unexpected events.

Steven D. Brown is professor of Social and Organisational Psychology, University of Leicester, UK. The focus of his research is on social remembering; collective affect; vulnerable groups experiences of organisation; process philosophy (esp. Deleuze, Bergson, James); contemporary philosophy of organization; science and technology studies. He is author of Vital Memory and Affect: Living with a difficult past (with Paula Reavery, Routledge, 2015), Psychology without Foundations: History, philo- sophy and psychosocial theory (with Paul Stenner, SAGE, 2009) and The social psychology of expe- rience: Studies in remembering and forgetting (with David Middleton, SAGE, 2005).