1st Edition

Affective Formation of Publics Places, Networks, and Media

    328 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers an interdisciplinary analysis of current formations of publics that is informed by in-depth knowledge of affect and emotion theory.

    Using empirical case studies from contexts as diverse as India, Pakistan, Tanzania, and the Americas as well as Europe, the book challenges dichotomous distinctions between private and public. Instead, publics are understood as a relational structure that encompasses both people and their physical and mediatized environment. While each kind of public is affectively constituted, the intensity of its affective attunement varies considerably.

    The volume is aimed at academic readers interested in understanding the dynamic and fluid forms of contemporary formation of publics—be it digital or face-to-face encounters as well as in the intersection of both forms. This includes researchers from media and communication studies, social anthropology, theatre or literary studies. It is aimed at advanced students of these disciplines who are interested in the unfolding of contemporary publics.

    1. Prologue: Affective Publics and Their Meaning in Times of Global Crises

    Zizi Papacharissi in Conversation with Margreth Lünenborg and Birgitt Röttger-Rössler

    2. Introduction: The Affective Character of Publics

    Margreth Lünenborg and Birgitt Röttger-Rössler

    PART I: Places

    3. Unhappy Objects: Colonial Violence, Maasai Materialities, and the Affective Publics of Ethnographic Museums

    Paola Ivanov, Laibor Moko, and Jonas Bens

    4. Theater Publics in Motion: Affective Dynamics of Theater and the Street, Berlin 1989

    Matthias Warstat 

    5. Digital Administrative Publics: Affective and Corporate Entanglements in Germany’s New Federal Portal

    Timm Sureau and Thomas Gotzelmann

    PART II: Networks

    6. (Im)Mobility in the Americas and COVID-19: The Emergence of a Hemispheric Affective Counterpublic

    Ulla D. Berg

    7. Women Activists Imaged Through Social Media Publics: The "Feisty Dadis of Shaheen Bagh" as Political Subjects

    Radhika Gajjala, Anne DeGalan, Debipreeta Rahut, Syeda Zainab Akbar, and Jhalak Jain

    8. Affectivism and Visibility in the Mediatization of Disappearing Non-Muslim Women in Pakistan

    Jürgen Schaflechner

    9. Hijacking Solidarity: Affective Networking of Far-Right Publics on Twitter

    Ana Makhashvili

    10. Affective Temporalities of Digital Hate Cultures

    Kaarina Nikunen 

    11. Understanding the Affective Impact of Algorithmic Publics

    Tobias Matzner

    PART III: Media

    12. Contested Image Practices of Public Shaming: A Case Study of an Internet Meme in the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

    Verena Straub

    13. "GOOKS, Go Home!": Vietnamese in the United States

    Subarno Chattarji

    14. Affective Publics and the Figure of the "Right-Wing Writer"

    Gesa Jessen, Jürgen Brokoff, and Tim Lörke

    15. Opening Up Ethnographic Data: When the Private Becomes Public

    Michaela Rizzoli and Birgitt Röttger-Rössler


    Margreth Lünenborg is professor of media and communication studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Her research focuses on recent changes in journalism due to digitization, gender media studies, migration and media. In CRC "Affective Societies" she heads a research project on "Journalism and its order of emotions" analyzing the affective regime of migration coverage. With a focus on affect and emotions, she has worked theoretically and empirically on questions of mediated affect, affective publics and the affective structure of digital media platforms. Her most recent book is Affective Media Practices (2021, with C. Töpper, L. Sūna, T. Maier). She co-edited the special issue “Global Inequalities in the Wake of Covid-19: Gender, Pandemic, and Media Gaps" (2023) with M. Siemon and W. Reißmann. She is co-editor of the book series Critical Studies in Media and Communication (transcript).

    Birgitt Röttger-Rössler is a senior professor of social and cultural anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. She is specialized in psychological anthropology with a particular focus on the interdisciplinary study of emotion and affect. She initiated the CRC "Affective Societies," which she directed from 2015 to 2022. Her latest research focuses on childhood, socialization, parenting and emotional development in cultural comparison as well as in migration contexts. Besides this she deals with the challenges of data management and data sharing in social anthropology. Her regional focus is on Southeast Asian societies (Indonesia and Vietnam). She serves as editor of two interdisciplinary books series: Routledge Studies in Affective Societies (with D. Kolesch) and Emotion Cultures (with A.von Poser, transcript).