"Affective Publics" Lecture
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In the academic year 2020/21, the work of CRC Affective Societies addresses the changing structure and nature of publics - both in different configurations of physical co-presence and in mediatized and digitally networked forms. While Western discourse for a long time was primarily based on normative concepts of the public sphere in the Habermasian deliberative understanding, such a concept, primarily oriented towards the rational exchange of arguments, seems to have long since become obsolete under the conditions of polyphonic and often seemingly chaotic digital networked communication. At the same time, a dichotomous understanding of privacy and the public sphere was criticized long before the advent of digital communication structures, both by Southern theorists and by social anthropologists and feminist researchers, because it cannot adequately describe the complex and tense interplay of the hidden, the secret, the personal, the private, and the public. Because we are interested in emotions and affects as basic structures of sociality, we specifically question the common polarization of well-placed rational arguments and troubling emotional expressions understanding both as affective forces. Instead, we aim for a contemporary understanding of the specific emotional and affective dimensions of current publics - whether in specific physical places (e.g., museums), as translocal networks (digital diasporas), as institutions of literature, or as algorithm-based information infrastructures.