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unfinished sympathy

here is an unfinished post on the indignados as affective networks or movements - although on the bright side, I did finish 2 and 1/2 research projects this summer.

I meant to write more lucidly on indignados protests, as affective gestures of emotive publics, intended to communicate sentiment and misunderstood when expected to produce explicit political manifestos.

Affective statements are important for democracies, societies in transition and non-democracies, because they provide a form of emotional release that simultaneously invigorates and exhausts tension; what in lacanian terms is labeled jouissance, and (imprecisely) translated in English as affect. Affect is embedded in the circulatory drive that characterizes networked publics and the ambient streams of premediation they produce, sustained by ongoing reflexivity and connection. Jodi Dean wrote about affective networks as a feature of communicative capitalism and Richard Grusin talks about how collective affects of anticipation and connectivity are premediated by technologies of convergence.

So we may frequently encounter affective expressions in twitter streams, blog feeds, or facebook musings. Textual statements like these effectively call emotive publics into being, providing cohesion between what were previously atomized gestures of discontent or dissent. Affective statements are frequently expressed in anticipation of events or prior to their occurrence.  However, affective attachments to media cannot produce communities, but may produce “feelings of community”. Depending on context, these affective attachments may either reflexively drive a movement that aims at community, and/or capture users in a state of engaged passivity. And thus, affective expressions may remain unfinished -

… to be continued … in the meantime,  an interlude: here’s a clip of the indignados in Athens, June 2011, provided courtesy @koumantakis


  1. zizip posted this