Scheidecker, Gabriel – 2019
Attachment refers to an enduring affectional bond of humans to particular others, whether individual or collective, as well as to non-human actors such as animals, material possessions, places, or spiritual beings. Attachments are characterized by their tendency to persist over time and across contexts, and by their profound emotional and affective significance. The concept of attachment attends to the diachronic dimension of emotional and affective relationships from the perspective of individual actors. In light of ethnographic research beyond the educated classes of the Western world, while drawing considerably on classical attachment theory, this chapter proposes to modify and extend several of its major tenets that are too limited and normative. In doing so, the chapter aims to encourage cultural studies and social science research on affect and emotion to contribute to attachment theory from a critical stance. Overall, the concept of attachment, as proposed here, calls for close attention to the formation and transformation of persisting affectional bonds as the fundamental constituents of affective societies.