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About the CRC Affective Societies

The Collaborative Research Center 1171 Affective Societies investigates affects and emotions as essential factors of coexistence in twenty-first century’s societies. The goal of the research network is to establish a new understanding of societies that emphasizes the fundamental importance of affects and emotions in the mobile, interconnected and mediatized worlds of the global present. In the third funding phase (2023-2027), scholars from nine disciplines across the social sciences, cultural studies and humanities are researching associated topics and questions in twelve subprojects.

In its first funding phase (2015-2019), the CRC developed a relational understanding of affect and emotion that was empirically tested in core areas of social interaction as a result of mobility, migration, and cultural dissolution. Based on these findings, in the second funding phase (2019-2023) the CRC investigated the interplay between dynamics of persistence and change in institutions. During this process, often contested affective forms of reference and emotional repertoires became visible in the fields of politics, media, art, education, and religion.

Building on these previous approaches and findings, the CRC in its third term investigates the affective and emotional dynamics of contemporary conflicts of coexistence: Social and political transformations – and the tensions and conflicts that accompany them – shape the present and lead to dislocations and upheavals that also shake up supposedly stable and widely accepted institutions, practices, and ways of living. We do not only assume that the disputes about ways of life, practices, self-understandings and institutions will intensify in the light of the global crises, but also claim that affects and emotions themselves will move into the center of negotiations and become a matter of social dispute.

The guiding questions of the CRC’s third term therefore are:

―     In what ways are conflicts about different forms of social coexistence impacted by diverging modes of affectivity and repertoires of emotion?

―     Where and in what manner do affects and emotions themselves become contested in disputes about visions and anticipations for contemporary societies?

Our goal is to develop an understanding of the affective and emotional dynamics of social conflicts, the actors involved, and the orientations, life plans, and identities which are at stake, especially with regard to those contents and impulses that imagine and anticipate social futures. For this purpose, in its third term, the research network recognizes itself as subdividen into three new, closely interlinked and cooperating thematic areas:

  • The research projects in the thematic area mobilizing shed light on how the practices and discourses of activist engagement give rise to designs and imaginaries of social coexistence. This for example concerns processes of activist mobilizations, alliances, and global affective communalizations, but can also mean demarcations from or subordinations to established institutions.

  • The thematic area negotiating examines how future-related affective dynamics and emotions are negotiated in media, artistic, or political fields and public spheres. Here, the focus will be on strategies and legitimations of demanding or rejecting certain emotions and affective attitudes as well as associated conflicts.

  • The thematic area averting is dedicated to counteracting movements of defensiveness and the absence of affective and emotional involvement. The focus lies for example on dimensions of the "unfeeling" as well as forms and strategies of avoidance, modulation, or even the withdrawal of affects.

The critical questioning of the affect and emotion research conducted in the research network is further developed by a cross-network central reflection project. Another project is dedicated to public relations and the transfer of scientific knowledge, making the concepts and results of the collaborative research widely accessible through a variety of participation and communication formats.

Findings from our research can be found in our publications, in recordings of our conferences and events, or in our podcast and blog. Information on research and staff can be found on the subproject pages.