Affect

February 15, 2012

Reading Eric Shouse’s take on the concept of Affect, it all felt pretty straight forward. That was until I started reading some of the other contributors thoughts on the subject, where the only comprehensible sentence turned out to be Gregg and Seigworth’s comment on page 4, ‘The Affect Theory Reader’ stating that “… first encounters with theories of affect might feel like a momentary (and sometimes) methodological and conceptual free fall”.

While Eric Shouse describe Affect as a fairly comprehensible and clearly defined term, the other contributes seem to have a range of more philosophical connections to the term Affect. While the Oxford dictionary elaborates on affect as “influencing behaviour or action”, Shouse however emphasise that this is limited only to a non-conscious action, more specifically as an involuntary display of emotions that cannot be controlled. Eric further states that ‘affect always precedes will and consciousness’.

Others seems to refer to Affect with a more philosophical tone. Gregory Seigworth, refers to Affect as something both mentally and therefore physically affecting us and our decisions, and as something “that points to a future that is not quite in view from the present, scrambles any map in advance of its arrival, if indeed the moment (as a demand on the social) ever fully arrives.”

Meanwhile Melissa Gregg describes a sudden confrontation of the fragility of the body, although containing a powerful mind, as a new perspective on her view on Affect.

The writers explores a range of understandings concerning Affect, and seems to stress the point of a desire of not defining it, allowing for multiple interpretations as a pure necessity to be able to start discussing the concept of Affect.

V.

One Response to “Affect”


  1. You may want to revise your image, and focus instead on a series of partial definitions of affect (or perhaps the 8 orientations offered by Gregg and Seigworth). Perhaps focus more on a few key concepts rather than offering a general overview. Elaborate on a few different examples perhaps of what is affect, or rather, what can affect do? (what effects does it produce?)


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