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Affective resonance through language and text

Prof. Anne Fleig / Prof. Christian von Scheve

winter term 2016/17 - summer term 2017

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.