Slaby, Jan; Bens, Jonas – 2019
This chapter carves out two central segments of the meaning of “political affect.” In the first half of the chapter, we will explore the ontological proximity between “affect and the political” in a philosophical key, drawing on Spinoza’s considerations on the affect–politics nexus. Spinoza sketches a vision of a radically democratic polity in which individuals realize their potential by forming affective alliances that jointly strive for insights into what enables or hinders their thriving. However, such affects of allegiance present only one possible way to flesh out the philosophical meaning of “political affect” – other options will be discussed as well. In the second half of the chapter, we draw on Foucault, Ann Stoler, and Kyla Schuller to explore ways in which affective phenomena get mobilized and regimented in order to support and sustain political rule. This rubric – we call it “affects in politics” – includes a broad range of official and unofficial techniques of governance that target or involve affect, as well as the affective modes of resistance that these efforts often evoke.