Interdisciplinary “tandem collaborations” will be responsible for the contents and the organization of the Theories and Methods Workshop and will work on one of the central aims of the CRC agenda.
During their year in office, these pairings will be supported by further academics participating in the CRC as members of associated working groups that will address specific theoretical and methodological aspects of the CRC agenda. In addition, tandems are responsible for the temporary organization of the CRC Plenum, this will achieve a broad participation of all members of the CRC. The temporal sequence of tandems will be based roughly on the theoretical and methodological breadth and specific features of the CRC. For example, concepts of affective relationality and emotion repertoires will guide the work in nearly all subprojects. Likewise, the majority of subprojects work with language and text as theoretical and methodological reference points for affectivity. Finally, different types of audience emotions are the subject of a substantial number of subprojects.
The third designated tandem will be formed by an expert in theater studies (Kolesch) and a sociologist (Knoblauch) who will work on affectivity and emotionality in performance situations. The tandem will focus on a phenomenon that is exemplary for social collectives and is thereby representative for the tension between communitarization and sociation in mediatized Affective Societies. The spectrum ranges from the frequently mediatized induction of affect in audiences attending major public events up to the diverse procedures and techniques for inducing affect in the performing arts. The empirical reference points are the emotional processes of audiences in performance situations that are viewed as differentiated, but, in their form, special resonance spaces of affect.
A particular interest is in comparing different social fields extending from sports over theater to religion that encompass both local and mediatized audiences. The tandem is combining this with the challenge of linking different strands of research on the emotions of audiences: These should extend from audience research in theater studies, film studies, and the anthropology of art up to research in sociology, communication studies, or social anthropology. Therefore, the tandem will forge links to further working groups and thereby probably open up a unique comparative perspective.
In the second tandem, an expert in literary studies (Fleig) and a sociologist (von Scheve) will work on the set of problems involving the affect-inducing power of language and texts in the constitution of affiliation and feelings of belonging. Precisely the CRC’s goal of paying more attention to affective dynamics that have not yet been culturally labeled casts a new light on the affective influence of language and text. From this perspective, affectivity is not understood exclusively as always having been shaped by language and discourse. In contrast, the particular power of language should now be explained by referring to its affective thrust. This results in language and text being viewed not only as representations of emotions but also as genuinely affective acts that help in constituting one’s own experience and establish resonances with other actors.
The tandem aims at elaborating this both theoretically and methodologically, particularly in relation to the concept of belonging, and not only for spoken language and its ability to generate affective dissonances or consonances, but also for different types of texts as the constituencies of public and political discourses in which belonging is negotiated. For many of the CRC subprojects, language and text are central reference points as both objects of study and methodological approaches. This makes the development of a procedure that integrates the perspectives of both the social sciences and cultural studies an important research need. Literary studies can contribute major methodological and theoretical competencies on, for example, the receptive-aesthetic effects of language. With the sociology of knowledge, the social sciences possess a feature in which language plays a central role, not only in terms of methods, but also in view of social theorizing.
In addition, the tandem can draw on preparatory interdisciplinary work within the Cluster of Excellence Languages of Emotion that has studied, for example, the effect of rhetorical figures, sound physiognomy in artistic speech production, or the affective connotation of social concepts.
The first designated tandem composed of a social anthropologist and a philosopher will work on comprehensively developing the conceptual core of the central relational understanding of affect and emotion for the CRC. Röttger-Rössler and Slaby both have relevant expertise in not only disciplinary but also interdisciplinary emotion research—not least through working together in the Cluster of Excellence Languages of Emotion. Hence, this cooperation is based on both researchers being embedded soundly in the state of the art in emotion research.
The disciplinary combination permits a close interplay between working out and testing empirical social anthropological procedures and initiating transformative work on concepts and theories. The concept of emotion repertoires illustrates this. This concept is gaining shape particularly from being reframed in a relational understanding so that it can serve as a guiding concept for the CRC. One area of collaboration will be to take empirical studies and extend the established understanding of individual emotion repertoires (as deeply embedded bodily affective dispositions) to make the possibility of a collective carrier of the repertoire conceivable in which the relational character of the interactively and performatively enacted repertoire should be determined more precisely.
The relational understanding of affect in the CRC can then be developed into an empirically grounded and conceptually selective battery of instruments that will serve as an alternative to the broadly established—but suffering from a strong western bias—concepts of discrete emotions. The first tandem cooperation will probably be flanked by working groups addressing aspects of the research on emotion and affect in sociology and media studies.