1st Edition

Public Spheres of Resonance Constellations of Affect and Language

Edited By Anne Fleig, Christian von Scheve Copyright 2020
    240 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    238 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    To understand the profound changes in the modes of public political debate over the past decade, this volume develops a new conception of public spheres as spaces of resonance emerging from the power of language to affect and to ascribe and instill collective emotion.

    Political discourse is no longer confined to traditional media, but increasingly takes place in fragmented and digital public spheres. At the same time, the modes of political engagement have changed: discourse is said to increasingly rely on strategies of emotionalization and to be deeply affective at its core. This book meticulously shows how public spheres are rooted in the emotional, bodily, and affective dimensions of language, and how language – in its capacity to affect and to be affected – produces those dynamics of affective resonance that characterize contemporary forms of political debate. It brings together scholars from the humanities and social sciences and focuses on two fields of inquiry: publics, politics, and media in Part I, and language and artistic inquiry in Part II. The thirteen chapters provide a balanced composition of theoretical and methodological considerations, focusing on highly illustrative case studies and on different artistic practices.

    The volume is an indispensable source for researchers and postgraduate students in cultural studies, literary studies, sociology, and political science. It likewise appeals to practitioners seeking to develop an in-depth understanding of affect in contemporary political debate.

    1. Introduction: Public Spheres of Resonance – Constellations of Affect and Language

    Anne Fleig and Christian von Scheve

    2. It’s the Language, Stupid!

    Kathrin Röggla

    Part I: Publics, Politics, and Media

    3. Affective Publics: Understanding the Dynamic Formation of Public Articulations Beyond the Public Sphere

    Margreth Lünenborg

    4. Resonant networks: On Affect and Social Media

    Susanna Paasonen

    5. The Sentimental Contract: Ambivalences of Affective Politics and Publics

    Brigitte Bargetz

    6. Rhythm, gestures and tones in public performances: Political mobilization and affective communication

    Britta Timm Knudsen

    7. Affective Dynamics of Public Discourse on Religious Recognition in Secular Societies

    Christian von Scheve and Robert Walter-Jochum

    Part II: Language and Artistic Practice

    8. Put A Spell on You: Poetry, Politics, and Affective Resonance in the Age of the Algorithm

    Anna Gibbs

    9. German 'Sprechtheater' and the Transformation of Theatrical Public Spheres

    Friederike Oberkrome, Hans Roth and Matthias Warstat

    10. The Alphabet of Feeling Bad: Environmental Installation Arts and Sensory Publics

    Ann Cvetkovich

    11. Affect and Accent: Public Spheres of Dissonance in the Writing of Yoko Tawada

    Marion Acker, Anne Fleig and Matthias Lüthjohann

    12. Affect(ive) Assemblages: Literary Worldmaking in Fatma Aydemir’s Ellbogen

    Claudia Breger

    13. Theory’s Affective Scene: Or, What to Do with Language after Affect

    Michael Eng


    Anne Fleig is professor of Modern German Literature at Freie Universität Berlin.

    Christian von Scheve is professor of Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin.