Since the mid-1990s, affect has become central to the social sciences and humanities. Debates abound over how to conceptualise affect, and how to understand the interrelationships between affective life and a range of contemporary political transformations. In Encountering Affect, Ben Anderson explores why understanding affect matters and offers one account of affective life that hones in on the different ways in which affects are ordered. Intervening in debates around non-representational theories, he argues that affective life is always-already ’mediated’ - the never finished product of apparatuses, encounters and conditions. Through a wide range of examples including dread-debility-dependency in torture, ordinary hopes, and precariousness, Anderson shows the significance of affect for understanding life today.
Ben Anderson is a Reader in Human Geography at Durham University. In addition to numerous articles on affect and emotion and the politics of contemporary security, he is the co-editor of Taking-Place: Non-Representational Theories and Geography.
’Everything touches everything else. This book deftly details why there is no such thing as affect itself. Affective life sings along the lines of imbrication and encounter. In following these lines through their particular tangle, crowd, or atmosphere, Ben Anderson shows how theories of affect are far from losing steam but, rather, just beginning to set the pot to boil!’ Gregory J. Seigworth, Millersville University, USA ’Ben Anderson offers a brilliant, multi-layered analysis of affective life. The book achieves fidelity to the complexity of affect as concept and practice: yes, affects are targets of commercial and governmental power; yes, they are surprising capacities of the (Spinozist) body; and yes, they are forces arranged into collective atmospheres. This is an important and wonderful book, an exemplar of affirmative critique - well worth reading across the disciplines.’ Jane Bennett, Johns Hopkins University, USA 'not only a thematically and theoretically rich book; it is also eminently relevant to the concerns of the radical geography community. ... Encountering Affect is an agenda-setting and truly impressive piece of scholarship. ... its readers whether unfamiliar, unsure, or well versed in affect theories will find much in this book that can help advance and enhance their own research programs.' Antipode