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
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DOI 10.1177/0263276412438591
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References found in this work BETA

The Transmission of Affect.Teresa Brennan - 2004 - Cornell University Press.
Body, Image and Affect in Consumer Culture.Mike Featherstone - 2010 - Body and Society 16 (1):193-221.
The Affective Turn.Patricia T. Clough - 2008 - Theory, Culture and Society 25 (1):1-22.
Collective Feelings.Sara Ahmed - 2004 - Theory, Culture and Society 21 (2):25-42.

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.
Collective Identities, Empty Signifiers and Solvable Secrets.Robert Seyfert & Bernhard Giesen - 2016 - European Journal of Social Theory 19 (1):111-126.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

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