To understand the profound changes in the modes of public political debate over the past decade, this volume develops a new conception of public spheres as spaces of resonance emerging from the power of language to affect and to ascribe and instill collective emotion.

Political discourse is no longer confined to traditional media, but increasingly takes place in fragmented and digital public spheres. At the same time, the modes of political engagement have changed: discourse is said to increasingly rely on strategies of emotionalization and to be deeply affective at its core. This book meticulously shows how public spheres are rooted in the emotional, bodily, and affective dimensions of language, and how language – in its capacity to affect and to be affected – produces those dynamics of affective resonance that characterize contemporary forms of political debate. It brings together scholars from the humanities and social sciences and focuses on two fields of inquiry: publics, politics, and media in Part I, and language and artistic inquiry in Part II. The thirteen chapters provide a balanced composition of theoretical and methodological considerations, focusing on highly illustrative case studies and on different artistic practices.

The volume is an indispensable source for researchers and postgraduate students in cultural studies, literary studies, sociology, and political science. It likewise appeals to practitioners seeking to develop an in-depth understanding of affect in contemporary political debate.

chapter Chapter 1|16 pages


Public spheres of resonance – constellations of affect and language

chapter Chapter 2|12 pages

It’s the language, stupid!

part I|20 pages

Publics, politics, and media

chapter Chapter 3|20 pages

Affective publics

Understanding the dynamic formation of public articulations beyond the public sphere

chapter Chapter 4|14 pages

Resonant networks

On affect and social media

chapter Chapter 5|18 pages

The sentimental contract

Ambivalences of affective politics and publics

chapter Chapter 6|17 pages

Rhythm, gestures, and tones in public performances

Political mobilization and affective communication

part II|106 pages

Language and artistic practice

chapter Chapter 8|18 pages

Put a spell on you

Poetry, politics, and affective resonance in the age of the algorithm

chapter Chapter 10|22 pages

The Alphabet of Feeling Bad

Environmental installation arts and sensory publics

chapter Chapter 11|16 pages

Affect and accent

Public spheres of dissonance in the writing of Yoko Tawada

chapter Chapter 12|21 pages

Affect(ive) assemblages

Literary worldmaking in Fatma Aydemir’s Ellbogen

chapter Chapter 13|13 pages

Theory’s affective scene

Or, what to do with language after affect