Affects and Emotions: Antagonism, Allegiance, and Beyond

In Sophie Loidolt, Gerhard Thonhauser & Tobias Matzner (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Political Phenomenology. Routledge (forthcoming)
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There is growing interest in political phenomenology in the role that affectivity and emotions play in the political realm. Broadly speaking, it has been suggested that political emotions fall into two sub-categories: political emotions of allegiance and political emotions of antagonism. However, what makes an emotion one of allegiance or one of antagonism has yet to be explored. In this chapter, we show how work done on the phenomenology of emotions, the phenomenology of sociality, and critical phenomenology, can inform our understanding of political emotions. Inspired by frameworks from each of these fields respectively, we introduce three ‘levels’ of phenomenological analysis with regards antagonistic political emotions: (i) the antagonistic character of the emotion, (ii) the antagonistic role in group dynamics, and (iii) a critical reflection on the very notion of antagonistic. Through this three-pronged phenomenological analysis we show how we can better understand, and critique, the conceptualisation of political emotions of antagonism and allegiance as well as show that whether an emotion is considered one of allegiance or antagonism depends on what level of analysis is employed.

Author Profiles

Lucy Osler
Cardiff University
Ruth Rebecca Tietjen
Tilburg University


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