Theory, Culture and Society 29 (6):27-46 (2012)

Robert Seyfert
Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)
In the Sociology of Emotion and Affect Studies, affects are usually regarded as an aspect of human beings alone, or of impersonal or collective atmospheres. However, feelings and emotions are only specific cases of affectivity that require subjective inner selves, while the concept of ‘atmospheres’ fails to explain the singularity of each individual case. This article develops a theory of social affect that does not reduce affect to either personal feelings or collective emotions. First, I use a Spinozist understanding of the ‘body’ to conceptualize the receptivity and mutual constitution of bodies, to show how affects do not ‘belong’ to anybody; they are not solely attributable either to the human or to any kind of body alone, but emerge in situations of the encounter and interaction . Next I build upon Jean-Marie Guyau’s concept of transmissions to show how we can theorize affect as an emerging transmission between and among bodies. Finally, I demonstrate how we now have a complete conceptual frame for theorizing affect in relation to all bodies in any given social scene, the grand composition of which I call affectif.
Keywords affect, affectif, body, Deleuze, encounter, Guyau, interaction, Spinoza, transmission
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0263276412438591
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Transmission of Affect.Teresa Brennan - 2019 - Cornell University Press.
The Affective Turn.Patricia T. Clough - 2008 - Theory, Culture and Society 25 (1):1-22.
Affect, Relationality and the `Problem of Personality'.Lisa Blackman - 2008 - Theory, Culture and Society 25 (1):23-47.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Social Relational Account of Affect.Christian von Scheve - 2018 - European Journal of Social Theory 21 (1):39-59.
Uncovering today’s rationalistic attunement.Paul Schuetze & Imke von Maur - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-22.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Collective Guilt and Collective Guilt Feelings.Margaret Gilbert - 2002 - The Journal of Ethics 6 (2):115-143.
The Feeling Theory of Emotion and the Object-Directed Emotions.Demian Whiting - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):281-303.
What Feelings Can't Do.Laura Sizer - 2006 - Mind and Language 21 (1):108-135.
Shame: A Case Study of Collective Emotion.Glen Pettigrove & Nigel Parsons - 2012 - Social Theory and Practice 38 (3):504-530.
Nothing More Than Feelings? The Role of Emotions in Moral Judgment.David Pizarro - 2000 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 30 (4):355–375.
Emotional Feelings.Tim Bloser - 2011 - Philosophical Papers 40 (2):179 - 205.
Hume’s Science of Emotions.Mark Collier - 2011 - Hume Studies 37 (1):3-18.
Emotions, Feelings and Intentionality.Peter Goldie - 2002 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1 (3):235-254.


Added to PP index

Total views
872 ( #5,234 of 2,409,931 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
83 ( #8,079 of 2,409,931 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes