Affect and emotion are not at the margins of societal affairs, but at the heart of civilization itself. The Collaborative Research Center aims at developing a new understanding of societies as Affective Societies that in its essence accounts for the fundamental importance of affect and emotion for human social coexistence in the mobile and networked worlds of the 21st century. The title Affective Societies signifies the fact that societal processes are intimately linked to the complex and often antagonistic feelings of groups and individuals. Only a sound understanding of the affective dynamics of societal and communal coexistence will allow societies to utilize the cohesive forces of affect and emotion and to recognize their disruptive potential at an early stage.
Critical to this understanding are insights into the fundamental social and cultural shaping of human emotion through the values and modes of interaction that characterize different lifeworlds. The various spatial, social, and cultural mobilities and transformations of the modern world – driven by communication technologies, global economic networks, and the arts – pose key challenges to contemporary societies. They can produce new forms of communal affective bonds that transcend national and geographical boundaries, but may likewise create disintegrative tensions, frictions and conflict between social groups.
The Collaborative Research Center will investigate these affective and emotional dynamics and their consequences for individuals and different forms of human coexistence, closing a significant gap in research. Scholars from ten disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences investigate these dynamics in 16 individual projects grouped into three main research areas: Actors, Repertoires, and Social Collectives. An overarching Theory and Methods Laboratory integrates and advances theories and methods from the different disciplines.