Kolesch, Doris; Knoblauch, Hubert – 2019
The chapter introduces a concept of audience emotions based on research and theory in the social sciences and the humanities. While audiences have mostly been studied with respect to the mass media and, more recently, to digital media, the concept of audience emotions underlines the relevance of audiences that are corporeally directed toward and interact jointly with a common and co-present focus of attention. We argue that audience emotions are not a simple aggregation of the emotions of spatially assembled individuals, but forms of expression, display, and feeling that emerge from the affective relations between a heterogeneous social collective and a performance, an artifact or any other act or object at the collective’s joint focus of attention. We will outline five key characteristics of audience emotions – collectivity, activity, reflexivity, spatiality and temporality, and shared contingency – and discuss their societal and political relevance and their importance for understanding societies as affective societies.