Affect – Jan.30th
- follows the discussion of embodiment
- this lecture precedes gender
1) what’s the relationship between communication and feeling?
2) why are we particularly interested in feeling today?
3) what are some of the ways in which we can think about various areas of social life as “affective”
- an attention to affect, is a reasonable recent phenomenon “hot trend” in academic work right now
over the last 15 years, and the question to be asked is “why”.
- AFFECT is primarily concerned with 2 emotions. With the states of mind that have to do with the
- affects refer to states of being, moves.
- affects are not simply the state of mind, it is the bodily manifestation of those states of mind. Ex:
slowly drifting off to sleep due to boredom.
- It is a disposition that are typically dispositions towards things
- affects then are personal or intimate things, things that go on inside you, feelings, through the
expression of those feelings by gestures, things you say, etc. while it is an intimate thing, it is also the
outward expression of that intimate thing. Which can be found in how we say, how we act, our
- you could argue, fairly affectively, aren’t all forms of communications affective? The ways in which we
speak to each other and respond is based on how we feel. If we love someone, we may not nessacariley
hurt them. Ex: certain types of music provide certain feelings…some music that makes us motivated to
work out at the gym. Or romantic music, that makes us feel in love, etc.
- listening to music puts you in another state of mind.
- lots of forms of communication of popular culture are based entirely on their ability to produce an
- facial expressions represent certain feelings we feel inside of us
- the ways in which films appeal to your sense of emotion. Many people make the argument, many
genres of films themselves are very affective. Comedy is intended to get you to laugh, horror film is
intended for you to be afraid.
- all forms of communication are intended to produce an affective response. A set of feelings that drive
a whole set of different communication. The power of discourse. That when we speak about things in a
certain way, talking about things in a certain way, framing things, produces a kind of social reality. Which
in turn, produces a set of feelings. - behaviorist theories of communication…magic bullet theory. There is an implicit affective assumption
( playing violent games, makes you feel violent, which is then put on other people)
advertisements are meant to make you feel something towards a certain product. all advertisements
every does, is produce feelings. How we feel about a certain thing drives us whether or not we are going
to buy it.
All forms of communications, are inherently affective in the sense that they are produced, distributed
and received to produce a certain type of feeling
Why over the last 15 years have people come to be interested in affect?
The emergence of affect as an area of scholarly input is the product of a number of factors that occur in
social life and within academic life.
Factors that contribute outside the academic life:
-recognition of the power of the media and the circulation of affect through media and entertainment
-media circulates feeling..ex: self help program, dr phil, oprah, reality shows are entirely affective – you
watch them because you want to feel the experience of real people – living varciourlsey through them.
How you feel about someone will determine if you vote for them (ex: American idol)
- proliferation of reality television produces the idea of affect from reality television.
- the rise of certain celebrities as public figures, ex: kim kardashian. She manages how people feel about
her through her twitter feed. Donald trump. The recognition that there is a bunch of celebrities that are
celebrities based on how you feel about them
- another ex: the world economic crisis. how one feels about the economy is based on feeling. Scholars
recognize things like economy, are incredibly emotional beings.
Internal factors in academics:
- continued interest between communication and psychology
- communication is implicitly interested in the relationship between what one says and how one feels.
Affect draws attention to the physiological component to modern life. Ex: how does it feel to be in the
- limit of post-structuralist theory. The emphasis is almost entirely on text, and not on bodies. - a concern about focault. Arguments of focault, had to do with biopolitics: One of the features of
government is to control minds and dictate how bodies should take care of themselves, but for many
people, that argument is to talked down, governments have control over bodies through techniques
which are imposed upon the public and then the public behaves.
-then an attention to affect then draws attention to affectively specifically, is a strategic move, and that
movie is intended to draw attention to the constructed nature of emotions, how we feel about things,
may be in part because we have been taught to feel a certain way about them. Like Carolyn marvin, it
draws attention to the ignored nature of the body and the relationship between mind and body, it is
drawing attention to the political attention to emotions, and it draws attention to the fact that feelings
and emotion are a window through which we can make sense of social behavior.
- micheal artz article argues from a markist perspective. The argument: in marx’s historical realism,
people come to be more and more disconnected from the means