AFFECTIVE CAPITALISM SYMPOSIUM
5–6 June 2014
University of Turku, Finland
Keynote speakers: Melissa Gregg (Intel Labs/ISTC for Social Computing), Tony D. Sampson (University of East London)
This symposium aims at describing and understanding a regime we call affective capitalism. In cultural theory, affect is considered to be a fruitful concept in analysing how something evokes our body and mind. Affect makes us act. Affect exceeds or precedes rationality. In our daily lives we are constantly affected by a plethora of things; our work, our friends, our surroundings, our technologies (Gregg & Seigworth 2010).
Unsurprisingly perhaps, we are seeing attempts to capture affect in different fields of contemporary culture from labour to social networks and politics. In these contexts, affect and affection are in an extensive manner organised, produced, and maintained for the needs of capitalism. Affective capitalism is lucrative, tempting and even sneaky. It merges with established therapeutic discourses and blurs the limits of intimacy at work (Ross 2003; Illouz 2007; Gregg 2011). It is both cognitive and non-cognitive (Sampson 2012); we are being evoked to act in order for companies to make profits in a market economy. Affective capitalism transforms us into assets, goods and services by appealing to our desires, needs and social relationships, or by making us act on a mere gut-feeling.
The idea of this two-day symposium is to bring together researchers and thinkers to discuss different areas of affective capitalism. We want to challenge affective capitalism on its own ground. To do this we will analyse specific examples of affective capitalism at work and map its defining factors. We are seeking new ways to understand affective capitalism through its ambivalences and complexities. At the same time, we ask how we could resist it and develop alternatives for it.
Thus, we invite papers that discuss the theme of ‘affective capitalism’ from various perspectives. The potential topics for discussion include (but are not limited to):
Art & Media
Finance & Economy
Gender & Sexuality
We invite proposals for individual papers including abstracts (250 words) and a short bio (100 words). Proposals should be sent to affcap[a]utu.fi by 17 March 2014.
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 1 April 2014. We are planning to publish a peer-reviewed journal issue based on the presented papers. The symposium is free of charge.