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Affect:Whatis it Goodfor? WilliamMazzarella Dictionaries and casualconversationboth tend to equate'affect' with'emotion.' But affectalso often shadesover into 'feelingj and as such seemsto point to a zone where emotion intersectswith processestaking place at a more corporeal level. Even in its relatively untheorized invocations,affect carriestactile, sensuous, and perhapsalso involuntary connotations.This essayis a critical exploration of the implications of such a categoryfor social analysis.I write in the belief that only those ideas that compel our desireaswell as our resistancereceiveand deservethe most sustainedcritique.

lmpersonal : Thinking Affect Embodied, Why is affect attracting so much attention in social and cultural analysisthesedays?The quick, lazy answer is that the public cultures we inhabit today have become more unabashedly affective. From political to commercial discourse,we are being solicited in an unprecedentedlyaffective,intimate register.I will have more to say about this impressionof heightenedpublic intimacy, but in order to get properly to grips with the analytical implications of the category,we shall first have to dig a bit deeper. From an analytical point of view, thinking affect points us toward a terrain that is presubjectivewithout being presocial.As such it implies a way of apprehendingsocial life that does not start with the bounded,intentional subjectwhile at the sametime foregrounding embodiment and sensuouslife. Affect is not the unconscious- it is too corporeallyrooted for that. Nor can it be aligned with any conventional conception of culture, since the whole

292 r WilliamMazzarella point of affect,accordingto its most influential contemporarythc orists,is that unlike emotion it is not alwaysalreadysemiotical,r, mediated.Gilles Deleuze,in an essayon Divid Hume, creditstht, latter with having discoveredthat 'tffective circumstances,prc existand guidethe 'principlesof association'that constitutewhar we like to recognizeas reason (2001 Irg72l: a5). Deleuzeis thus confirmed in his belief that there is, in John Rajchman'swords, 'an element in experiencethat comes before the determinatiorr of subjectand sense'(2001: 15). _ Drawing on and developing Deleuze'sruminations, perhaps the most significant recent scholarly intervention has been thu work of Brian Massumi, particularly his essay,The Autonomy of Affect' which first appearedin the mid-t990s and was latcr included in Parablesfor the virtual (2002). Massumi characterizes affect as a domain of intensity,indeterminacy,and above all po tentiality, which the signifying logic of cultuie reducesor, iniis terms, 'qualifiesl Affect is both embodied and impersonal.Thc appearanceof personal, subjectivelife is, then, foi Massumi as for Deleuzea secondaryeffectof cultural mediation.This is whv affect cannot be equatedwith emotion: An emotion is a subjectivecontent,the sociolinguisticfixing of the quality of an experiencewhich is from that-point onwird definedas personal.Emotion is qualifiedintensity,the conventional, consensualpoint of insertion of intensity into semantically and semioticallyformed progressions,into narrativizable action-reactioncircuits,into function and meaning.It is intensity owned and recognized(Massumi2002:23). From the standpoint of affect,societyis inscribedon our nervous systemand in our freshbeforeit appearsin our consciousness. The affective body is by no means a tabula rasa; itpreservesthe traces ofpast actionsand encountersand bringsthem into the presentas potentials:'Intensity is asocial,but not presocial 1...] tlie trace ol' pastactions including a traceof their contexts faie] ionserved in the brain and in the fl esh'(2002: 3o :original emphasisj.Further,,The trace determinesa tendency,the potential,if not yet the appetite, and variation of the impingement; f9r.lhe_lutonomic repetition'the (ibid.: 32). For all the talk of body' in current culturJtheory, Massumi complains,the body rarely appearsas anything much

Affect:what is it Goodfor? t 293

more than dumb matter availablefor disciplineand cultural ,Is the body linked to a particularsubiectposition inr.tiption, ;Vthi"g more than a iocal embodimentol ideolog?'(ibid':5' originaiemphasis)'Massumiwants insteadto show us a nondoJitebody_ perhapsa spasticbody by mainstreammeasures, Uuirtitt anirreduciblyandievealinglysocialbody.Mostgenerally, Massumiis askingui to imaginesociallife in two simultaneous ,.girt.tr, on the 6ne hand, i registerof affective,embodiedinIririt' and,on the other,a registerof symbolicmediationand is'not Therelationbetweentheseregisters discuisiveeiaboration. or resonation of rather but oneof conformityor correspondence 25)' (ibid': amplificationor dampening' interference, The implicationsof sucha positionwould seemmomentous. of modesof social It callsintb questionthe categorialcoherence (which takes the psychologl inq"itv .unging from mainstieam throughbourend) its and as its beginning U.i.ugr.r"d'su-*bject theindividual t.oir iil.rut sociologr(in whichthestruggle.between Foucaultian to theme) pathetic ind societyis the perennially all through above proceeds portrt-.turalism (in which po*er may well affect of An examination i.o".t."t of subjectivation). underif we aesthetics, social of a ioou. u, into theneighborhood sense or aeslfuesls of sense the ancientGreek standby aesthetics ."p"'i""""'Butitisbydefinitionineducibletoanyanthropolory_ for:example,an anthropologrof emotion,or of aestheticsystems that would seekto eiplain affectby situatingit comparatively within integratedculturalorders' SeenthiJ way,conventionalsocialanalysisis alwaysarriving cultoo lateat thesceneof a crimeit is incapableof recognizing: hegemonic a more-or-less turehasalreadydoneitscoveringwork, Thescholarly .y-uoti. qualificationhasalreadybeenachieved. of c.ulpr9{gct secondary this ri.rtft invariablymisrecognizes missing life, social of stuff tural mediationas the fundamental 'thoughtbridlesand thewoundsinflictedby language(Deleuze: [1965]:66)' mutilateslife,makingit sensible'2001 WhenMassumiin.'siststhatheisnotinvokingsome.prereflexive,romanticallyraw domainof primitiveexperientialrichness' word.The senses, Q6OZ:29)I think he shouldbe takenat his work, like so Massumi's But ute tne self,havetheir histories. quivers with the also vein, muchthat is writtenin thisneo-vitalist hand' the one on between, opposition romanceof a fundamental

294 r WilliamMazzarella the productive,the multiple, and the mobile and, on the other.thc death-dealingcertitudesof formal determination.As he puts it irr a moment of rhetorical exaltation: ,If there were no escape,no excessor remainder,no fade-out to infinity, the universewould be without potential, pure entropy, death' (2002:55\. Facedwith suchmelodramaone might well object,with Michacl silverstein (2004), that the radical binarization of conceptual mediation and affective immediacy is not only analytically unten able but also a contingent feature of modein Euiopean philo sophy.twhile I shall indeedbe arg'ing that the major fliw besetting contemporary affect theory is its romantic (and complicit) attachment to a fantasyof immediacy - or as I prefer to put ii, imme_ diation (Mazzarella2006) - I would nevertheless[Le to explore the possibilitythat the 'thing' it describesmay help us to reihink the politics of public culture in a productiveiy criiical way.

TheClanandthe Crowd.Modernity andAffect The just-so story we too often tell ourselvesabout the origins of modernity takes disenchantmentas its central theme. tn lhis denuded fairy-tale, affect is progressivelyevacuatedfrom an increasinglyrationalized bourgeoisworld to the point where politics becomes,in Paul Valery'swords, ,the art of preventing the from getting involved in what concernsthim' (quotld in ::":^er Maffesoli 1996 [1938]: 154). The legitimacy of bourgebismod_ ernity seemshere to depend upon processesof abstriction that are at once universalizingand vampiric. The inevitableend point is Max weber's 'iron cage,'an arrogantly soullessbureauiratic 'nullity' ruled by'specialists without spirit, sensualistswithout heart'(1998 [1920]:182). Political legitimationalso,it seems,has taken the samecourse, Jiirgen Habermas (1989[1962]) narrates the transition from a spectacular'publicnessof representation'in which the bodv of the sovereign,ritually emerginginto public view, assertedand confirm.edthe stability of the polity and the efficacyof royal power, to the rational-critical legitimation of the seCulardlmocratic order. Perhapsthe most sensuouslymemorable illustration of this transition - even if it is mobilized to very different critical ends is Michel Foucault's famous opening diptyctr in Discipline & Punish (1977 U9751),which seeksto convince us, by means of

Affect:Whatis it Goodfor? . 295

aru-",i" contrast,that between the middle of the 18th-century and the early l9th-century the normativeforms of Europeansovereignty shifted from spectaculartheatricality to rationalized, affeit-evacuatedtechnicism.Out of a form of rule in which the volatility of the visceral was both a principle of efficacy and 1 fatal structural flaw, modern governmentality emerged with all the seamless,affectlessprecision of a machine. Liberalsarguethat the reifying abstractionsof the commodity form, modern citizenship and bureaucratic reasonare necessary even liberatory - technologiesin complex, industrial societies' Yes, Newtonian mechanics may once have consorted openly with the poetic doctrine of sympathies(Starobinski2003 [1999]) and astrologymay once have informed astronomy.Even G.W.F' Hegel'sall-absorbingSpirit found someinspiration in 17th-century rn4istr vitalism (Beiser1995).But such infantile dallianceswith 'superstition' had to be disowned for grownaffect-intensive up modernity to take its soberscientific form. For their part, critical theorists of modernity from Karl Marx onward transform the Romantic lament for lost aestheticfullnessinto a systemicpolemic against the bad faith embeddedin the discourseof modernity' 'The tools used by Al Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge note, the rationalistic disciplinesnegatethe mimetic foundation that is necessaryfor them to operate' (1993 11972):24). The stage,then, is set for a kind of return of the repressed, whether in the form of a grand revolutionary reversalor a more 'haunting' of the deathly inconclusive, but no less subversive, abstractions of modern knowledge by the vitally embodied energiesthey both require and deny. From the psychoanalytic liberition theologr of a Herbert Marcuse or a Wilhelm Reich to the teleological certitude of scientific socialism,affect will out. On this point, conservativeindividualists ioin hands with radical populists, enabling Jos6Ortega y Gasset'sremark, made in 'The past has reason the 1930s,to enact its own prophesytoday: on its side, its own reason.If that reason is not admitted, it will return to demand it' (1932 [1950]:95). The ideological discourse of modernity not only represses and demonizesthe affectivebut also romantically fetishizesit particularly insofar as it can be located at the recedinghorizon of a iuuug" disappearingworld,an anthropologicalother inthe glas-sic sense.One might say that what Michel-Rolph Trouillot (1991)

296I William Mazzarella has calledanthropology's'savage slot'served,inter alia,to assist the disavowal through which the discourseof modernity absolverl itself from grappling with its own affectivepolitics. In this regard, Emile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms ol Religious Life (1995[L912]) is a splendidly subversivetext. For starters Durkheim, quite consciouslywriting with and againsr the contemporaryfigure of the urban crowd, givesus something that in today'spolarizedtheoreticallandscapehasbecomealmost unimaginable: a social theory that is at once semiologicalanrl affect-based.Mulling over the proto-structuralist sign politics and the collectiveeffervescenceof the corroborree,he strivesto isolatethe constitutive functions of both the mediationsand the mania which so many of his contemporariescould only recog nize as the regressiveaffinity betweendistant primitives and alltoo-proximate proletarian crowds. The Polynesiancategory ol manalends Durkheim a transhistorical,transcultural name for the sacredpower of the social.But in stressingits volatile ,contagiousnesslits amoral energy,Durkheim is also invoking the kind of nonsubjectivesensuousmimetic potential that seemed to inform both the primitive communitas and the - preciselymindlessagitation of the crowd. In the discourseof modernity, affect appearsas a socialpharmakon, at once constitutiveand corrosiveof life in common. In the Durkheimian bounded clan, the harnessingof mana for purposesof socialregenerationis a noisy,sweatybut relativelymech. anical matter. But the organic complexity of industrial societies seemsto make the self-consciouslymodern deploymentof affect much more complicated. The figure of the urban mob (when not simply sullen) is affectivelyeffervescent,to be sure,but also for that very reasonfrighteningly unstableand vulnerableto the manipulationsof demagoguesand advertisersalike. In the closed clan the energygeneratedby proximate bodies in motion, each mirroring the other's excitation, operatesas a principle of solidarity and commitment. But in the open crowd thesevery same conditions herald excessand violence.Crowd agitation readsas regressive,driven by atavistic instincts at odds with the brittle bonds of civilization. Collectively comprising a howling feedback loop, the members of a crowd, quickly shedding their bourgeois individuality, become mimetic, indiscriminately amplifying each others'

Affect:whatis it Goodfor?' 297 'In a crowd every impulses and impressions.Gustave Le Bon: of desentimentand acf is contagious'(2002[1895]:7). Composed uncleact horrifyingly of individualizedbodies,the crowd is a kind body sociat,capableonly of the concretelogic of the saJag:mind: .q cio*a thinks in imagis, and the imageitself immediately calls the up u t.ti.t of other imalges,having no logical connection with hallucination' is a'collective tiirt' (f S).The end resu'it,famously, liOl,l masscognitivemeltdown that,invadesthe understanding critical faculty' (18)' Thus savagesolidarity judgment, but also "nd'pututyres"all ,*pi"ut."us the very antinomy of reasoned sociality'2 urban a new of us ttt-"raw material This was the outcome that Sigmund Freud would thematize that in his Group Psychology(1959[1921]),3when he argued socnl stablefor necessary were that bonds lhe affective 1'love'; subrelationships not only required a psychically problemati.c Discontlimation of-basicdrives (the story of.ciuilization and its with inii, tgeg I19501)but were also quite cfgarlyincompatible work .t.ui tnin6.,g and soberjudgmenl. And in his remarkable The Lauts ol l*itotion, Gabriel Tarde prefigured both Georg as simmel and walter Benjamin when he characterizedcity life 85). (1903: L singularmixture of anaesthesiaand hyperaesthesia' Tarde"moved from this diagnosisof the affectively conductive tout court as a urban crowd to a striking formula for social lif.e 'society is imitaresonance: condition ofmimetic leneralized "tion and imitation is a kind of somnambulism'( 1903: 87,original emphasis). iypicaity the crowd, in its guiseas the paradigmaticpublicsocial iorm oi -urs society,is either inert or hyperactive'In eith.er And in either case,analyststake caseit is eminently suggestible.a incommensurable,an emradically be massaffect and reasonlo that this is the place it seems oddly, other. each bur.urr-"nt to of Le Bon coincide cadences aristocratic *h.r. the witheringly In a simneo-vitalists. contemporary our populism 6f *itt tt grounds " ontological the (whicti leaves polarity moral of pf.,.""rrut ^ot tt. argumentuntouche-d)the crowd's formerly unacceptable emergentpuissance unreason now reappearsas the productive, 'The mass man has no of ttt" multitude. Ortega y Gassetwrote flesh' ult.ntio" to sparefor rieaioning,he learns only in his own the at guessed have not ltSfZltSSOl:'aS;.nut he could,I suspect, critics of generation ..t.U*toty refunctioning to which a later would submit these sentiments.s

298 ! William Mazzarella

Comparativelyrare is the thinker who takes the ritual and/or professionalcoordination of affect - what one might call ,affect management'- to be a central principle of social life and insti tutional survival.Elias Canetti capturesthis paradoxicalpursuit when he writes that the only way to create social institutions that are durable yet suitably suffused with affective energy is by means of 'a consciousslowing down of crowd events' (1984 [1960]:41). Without suchritual retardation,the crowd acceler ' ates inexorably towards orgasmic conflagration,the ,discharge that is at once its fulfillment and its undoing. In the houseof organizedreligion, conversely,'whatever the church has to show, is shownslowly' (1984[1960]:156,originalemphasis). And Michel Maffesoli notes,somewhat over-generally:'Any effervescenceis structurallyfoundational.This is a basicsociologicalrule that did not of course escapeDurkheim; the trick is to know how to use this effervescence, how to ritualizeit' (1996 [1983]: 142). The languageof ritual is the languageof power, insofar as it enshrines the dramaturgical conventions of state nationalism and officially sanctioned piety. But if we understand ritual as a speciesof social mediation, and institutional practicesas a form of performativeritual, then we might also concludethat, contrary to the ideologicaldiscourseof rationalizedmodernity, the labile terrain of affect is not in fact external to bureaucratic process. Affect is not, then, so much a radical site of othemessto be policed or preservedbut rather a necessarymoment of any institutional practice with aspirationsto public efficacy. If I venture to say that modernity is and has always been structurally affective,I want to be quite clear about what this might mean. I am not merely suggestingthat the rationalizing, disenchanting institutions of modernity need to be understood as vulnerable becausethere always remains a vital 'outside' or 'other' that exceeds their normalizing grasp.It has for example by now become quite routine to argue (not least with reference to colonial and postcolonialsettings)that the panoptic, capillary ambition of modern governmentalityin fact leavesIargeswathes of local lifeworlds relatively untouched and therefore external to its sway. Unabsorbed,these densethickets of vernacular sociality then perennially return as the uncanny repressedof the political order, unsettling and denaturing claims to rule by singular sovereignreason.

Affect:Whatis it Goodfor? t 299 proWhat I am suggestinghere,by contrast,is that any social affective be must alone force ject that is not i-por"a through Massumi's in order to be effeitive - i.e., iihas to speakboth of 'languages'concurrently: intensity aswell as.qualificatiol' lilefic plausibility' Faced with the ,"ronui." as well as propositional 'coherencei moreover, speech an-d g"";"rir"a requirementbf incommensurable these mediate to Iocial practice must attempt appearto be muthem make to as ptu".t tntough each otheiso of overt discourses just requirement a lually entail"ia.1'nit is not of insti pragmatics in the too it seet oti"iiti-ution. Rather,one seek demands institutional tutloliuf practice, where abstract legalistic for reach appeals affective affective resonance and justification -r +L:-,,--oo^r.,ahrc , l Onemightspeakofthisunresolvabledialecticasastructura on a shortcoming. sense in any not it is flaw or a fiult line. But 'gap' is a condition of power's efficacy'if by efthe contrary, this engageficacy we mean itsiapacity to harnessour attention' our herg a.m appearthat it might m"ni u.ta our desire.I ,"il\r"that I is bound' which language psychologistic i"t"tii"e to the kind of the affecas I suglestedabove,to airive too late at the sceneof affect that I believe that clear be iive ntJlgut by now it should catsuch of mediations the to is in fact neither wholly external manner the Further' them' of eft'ect .goti"t nor simply a disiursive iriwhich *e ate interpellatedin our lives ascitizens'consumers these und, i.r.r"uringly, consumer-citizens requiresthat we take ,subject'glc.) no.tonly asvitaiity-denying 1,seiqtitizenl "at"gori", iJ""Trgi""i obfuscationsbut-asaffectively-imbued,compellingly we are flawed"socialfacts. When we are thus addressed'when that and always'failsi identification our offered such identities, across movement (a dialectical desire which we experienceas our itt. g"p between affect and articulation) is always thwarted' eni"t iri"ir"ly this failure is the condition of our continued 'really we who misses public discourse gage;e.tt. Ii is not that irJj tt ut its categoriesare always too general for our specific our'selves'in and through (indeeid,we only recognize.ip.ti.""" discourseaddressesus public ihft discursivemediation). Rather, generality' One is impersonal of simultaneouslyon two levels of citizenassemblage legal oUtt.u.t and pertains to the formal, it is equally gut: in the gets us ,trip utta civii society.The other us as solicits and intimate, i-p".to.tut but also shockingly

300 r WilliamMazzarella embodiedmembersof a sensuoussocialorder.In relation to bottr of theselevelsthe notion of the individual as bounded,volitional 'subject' - while ideologically crucial - must be taken as some thing of a strategiccompromise. Both the marketing of branded goods and electoral politics demonstratethis principle at work. In either case,the official justification for the affect-intensiveFactor X (the candidate's 'charisma,'the brand'scompulsion)- that exceedsan instrumental. rational appeal- is the need for a unique positioning in a field or functionally interchangeablecommodities.But is it not the case that we respond powerfully (with both excitement and alarml to being addressedat a level that exceedsour judicious deliberation as rational choosers?In either case,we participate in a double fetishism that projects this delicate tension bnto thc 'inherent' properties of the desired or dreadedobject as well as onto the'ambivalent'motivationof the choosingsubject.I call this a fetishismsincethe dialectic in fact originatesin neither subject nor object,but is rather a structuralpropertyof the public cultural fields in which subjectand object come to be for themselvesand for each other, and in which, at the sametime, their apparently miraculous meeting as predestinedpartners (,made-fbr eacir other') is constantly staged.

Mediation and Death Attentive readerswill no doubt by now be troubled. How can I start with Massumi and Deleuzeand now blithely be invoking such unabashedlyGermanic terms as mediation and dialectics, especiallygiventhe extraordinary- I am temptedto sayphobic _ level of vitriol that the Deleuzians reseroefor precisely such concepts?In their highly influential work, Empire,Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri not only excoriate,the dialectic, that cursec dialectic!'(2000:377),butgo on to situatethemselvesin much the samelineageasthat of Massumi,the neo-Nietzscheanmoment of Frenchpoststructuralism(again,with the samevitaristforebears) that refused what it took to be the totalizing ambition of the Hegelian dialectic in favour of ,refusal,resistance,violence.and the positive affirmation of being' (ibid.: 57S). Deleuze accusesthe dialectic of ,prestidigitationl figuring it as a treacheroustemptation to totalize: 'Dialecticsis the art that

Affect:Whatis it Goodfor? | 301

invitesus to recuperatealienatedproperties'(2001 [1965]: 70)' The comment needsto be historically situated.The generation of postwar French critical thinkers to which Deleuze belonged grew up in a context where being radical meant subscribingto lhe twinned hegemonyof the FrenchCommunist Party and postphilosophy.The.extraorHegelianexistential-phenomenological lecturesat the Ecole 1930s l(ojeve's of Alexandre influence dinirv of Splrll should not Phenomenotogy The on Etudes Fiautes des The next generation'srebellion consequently be underestimated.6 involved a baby-with-the-bathwaterintellectual purge,in which dialecticswas disastrouslyreduced to the Hegelian positiue dialectic - that is, the dialectic that is teleologicallyoriented towards a future condition of fullness,in which all particulars are subsumedwithout significantremainderunder generalconcepts' The greatestcasualtyof this reduction was the possibility of imagining social and philosophical processesof mediation as nontotatizing along the lines of, say, Theodor Adorno's negative dialectici. For all the subtlety of its elaborations,the rebellion bequeathedto the philosophies it spawned a crudely romantic disfinction between,on the one side,all-encompassingform (whose totalizing ambition must be resisted)and, on the other side, the evanescentforms of affectiveand - it is often implied - popular potentiality (which must be nurtured and celebrated).This reductive binary opposition between (in Deleuze and Guattari's terminologl),molar'structuresand'molecular'potentialscontinues to inform Massumian affect theory today in a way that undercuts its considerablepower. At points Massumi doesseemto acknowledgesomethinglike a dialLctical relationship between emergenceand articulation, betweenaffectand qualification.For example,in the Introduction 'Possibility is backto Parables for the Virtual he notes that formed from potential's unfolding. But once it is formed, it also effectively feeds in' (2002:9). And yet Massumi continues to insist upon a radical distinction between vital potential and the death-dealingwork of formal mediation. This is nowhere more evident than when, in a slightly later passage,he seemsoddly keen to take at face value Hegel'stheory of subsumption at its most megalomaniacal: If you apply a concept or systemof connection between concepts,it is the material you apply it to that undergoeschange,

302r William Mazzarella much more markedly than do the concepts. The change is imposed upon the material by the concept'i systematicity"antr constitutesa becoming homologousof the material to th. system.This is all very grim. It has lessto do with ,more to th, world'than 'more of the samelIt has lessto do with inventiorr than masteryand control (2002: U). certainly the caricature of mediation-as-subsumptionas sketchedhere is indeed very grim. And the saddestirony is thar this line of thinking, while ostensibly'critical,'actuallygrantstht, would-be normalizing institutions of modern govein-mentalit.y preciselythe kind of totalizing efficacythat their-own ideological discourseclaims.Ton the one hand, this position credits iisti tutions with a seamlessness that they do nofenjoy. on the other and this is a crucial point-it fatally misidentifierih"ir power with the possibility of such seamlessness. Urtimately, it uies this en tirely reified vision of immaculate subsumption to lend plausi bility to the singular integrity of its own vitil ,alternative.'For alr its claims to enablea ne., radical form of socio-culturalanalysis, sucha standpoint in practicepreventsus from understanditrgtn" workings of any actually existing social institutions, becau"seir has alwaysalreadydismissedtheir mediatingpracticesas having compromised the potentialities that a more im-mediate vitaliti would embody. Much writing in this tradition presentsitself rather narcissis, tically as interveningin an 'insurrectionary'or'insurgent'manner into apparently authoritative realms of utterance ind practice. But rather than expendingvast amounts of energr recuperating the constitutiveinstability and indeterminacythat attends all signification (asif it were really hidden, as if its ,revelation'might enablesome momentous transformation),would it not be m6rc illuminating to explore how this indeterminacyactualryoperates in practice as a dynamic condition of our engagementwith the categoriesof collectivelife? Ratherthan positingthe emergentas the only vital hope againstthe dead hand of -Jdiation, wiy not considerthe.possibilitythat mediationis at once perhapsthehost fundamental and prod'ctive principle of all roiiul life precisely becauseit is necessarilyincomplete,unstable,and provisionati Mark Poster'sobjectionto Maffesolideservesto be exiendedto the neo-vitaliststout court: 'His generousappreciationof ,,newtribalism,'

Affect:whatis it Goodfor?t 303 fails to provide a materialismof the mediation,an articulation of the complex structuring of everydaylife' (2001: 163). ElsewhereI havearguedthat'On the one hand, reflexivesocial entities(selves,societies,cultures)are fundamentallyconstituted (andnot just reconstituted)throughmediation.On the other hand, as Derrida and other scholars suggest,this constitutive mediation also always produces a fiction of premediatedexistence' (Mazzarella 2004: 357).In other words, mediation is the social condition of Lhe fantasy of immediation, of a social essence (vital and/or cultural) that is autonomousof and prior to social processesof mediation.This is by no meansan obscureconsideration: our everyday'folk' senseof our apparentlygiven selvesand our placesin the world depend on preciselysuch an illusion. One might saythat the deepirony of mediationis that its constitutive role in social life dependsupon its own masking.Michael Warner makes an analogouspoint when he arguesthat although publics only arise through the circulation of texts, their social efficacydependson their seemingto exist prior to their textual constructicln: Public speechcontendswith the necessityof addressingits public as already existing real persons.lt cannot work by frankly declaringits subjunctive-creativeproiect. Its successdepends on the recognitionof participantsand their further circulatory activity,and peopledo not commonly recognizethemselvesas virtual projections.They recognizethemselvesonly as already beingthe personsthey are addressedasbeing,and asalreadybelonging to the world that is condensedin their discourse (2002:82). This illusion of pre-mediatedexistence- of immediation - is, then, at oncethe outcomeof mediationand the meansof its occlusion. It is also a fantasy sharedby the most reactionary political interests (those who would have us commit to the primacy of race,blood, and nation) and, in a different register,the kind of critical theory at issuein my discussionhere (where it becomes a principle of comprehensiverefusal, of perennial liberation)' I am not of coursearguingthat thesetheoristsare crypto-fascists (although that kind of accusation is sometimes made from a Marxist-materialiststandpoint).But I do think that it is important

304 r WilliamMazzarella to note that the dream of immediation, far from being radical. is in fact largely complicit with entirely mainstream currents irr contemporarypublic culture -. all the way from the depoliticizing sensuoustheodicy of consumeristgratification to the neoliberirl will to allow the 'spontaneous'logic of the market to displacc the 'artificial' mediations of human institutions.

WHvWr AneAr-lPeRveRse, On,THrOperu Eoceor MassPueLrcrrY Maffesolinotesthe derivationof the term 'perverse'fromthe Latin per uia ('by way of ). Perversion,then, would be the symptom ol a detour through somethingexternalto ourselves.For Maffesoli, committed as he is to recuperatinga 'proxemics'that woulcl amelioratethe alienatedabstractionsof the rationalized society, ' perversionreallyis a pathologr- at besta'simulatedacquiescence to the c
whatis it Goodfor?t 305 Affect: be to recognize the local, it seemsto me that our proiect should and that ittuttnes" are in fact separabledomainsonly in discourse' potiti"t in practice uhtuvt involves an ongoile ii1 n::^":l:; 'sive hnlte and meaiation between' on the one hand' claims to universal to io"ut.a identificationu.ri, on the other, an aspiration -_Thisisnotsirnplytheresultoftheinabilityofuniversalizing relevance. of lives as lived abst.uctio.,sto contain the concreteparticularity and a forrn order in tt e wortd.8Ratherit is the outcomeof a social at once ins.ists oi lir,.r"uringly prevalent) governmentalitythatis insistence rhis aid formal freedom. ;;;;i;;;iioi_iv_ia""tity paper to attempt tit, itt turn, simply a contradictory or flawed social form o.r"i tt contradictionsarising out of an impersonal Katner lt ls " that neverthelessrequiresour affectivecommitment' by which dialectic iii" iJrofogical formili zation of the negative crowd is The publics' we are all today constitutedas memberi of these people' these alwaysat once a concrete,particular crowd bodiesinthisplace-andaninfinitelyexpansiveformation.lnthat antitypeof the r"..., tn" crowd is both theDoppelgangerandthe figure puUfii. And becauseit embodiesin a utopian-dystopiT mobilization' mass itr" aynurni. tensionbetweenmassaffectand of the starting point for an adequatereading il'ir;iil"rhaps the politics of Public culture. 'Public culture' - the phrase itself is perverse'If publics-are' principle.belong as Warner argues,collectivitiesto which we in 'culvltuntarity, tlien what doesit meanto itxtapose'public'with hype tut.; u" iiio- of belonging that despitethe marketing would seemto be markid most stronglyby an involuntary'.even is its simul unconscious stamp? The puzzle of public address an suggests' is, Warner taneous intimacy and anonymity' This resonate may intimacy of strangers.A public communication 'Yet we know that it was addressednot p"rronuf*uy' i; ; moment we ""ti eiactly io us, but to the strangerwe were until the paradoxic.al The tr"pp.""a to be addressedb! it (20.02:57)' finds its only it tli,Lt is .oiiitio" of effectivepublic speech,then, aimed be to time rp""iti. target insofar'as it seemsat the same TThebenefit in this practice is that it gives social reeise*here. yet this open i.uun." to private thought and life' (ibid': 58), and is by the strangers' mass publicityltnis solicitation of "t "Jg. sametoken unnerving.

306 I William Mazzarella

Un-nerving?Perhapsnot exactlythat, after all. perhapsthinl, ing affect and thinking the crowd in this connection allows us , different vantagepoint on the sensuouslyanonymousdimensi,r. of public cultural communication.Maybe what is happeninghcrt. is a doubling where the 'stranger'with whom we feet ourielv., curiously aligned is not just the abstract figure of an unknou,' external other, but equally the impersonallyintimate domain .l our affectivememory.If public communicationalwaysconveys,irs a condition of its felicity,the odd sensationof neverquite hivirrg realizedits addressee, then perhapsthis is becauseits implicil destinationis at once more innervatedand more abstractthar, the 'subject'whosecoherentintentionalityis the preconditiorr for a liberally-imaginedcivic life. NOTES 1. Specifying hisuseof theword,conceptual,' Silverstein notes: I intendthistermto be inclusive, thusnot makingthedistinctionbetwcerr 'cognition'('ideas') 'affect' and (,passions,) that seemsto be a veryloc., sociocultural legacyof European, particularly(post)Enlightenmerr(. discourseabout the mind, the first being equatedwith ultimatery formalizablerepresentationality, the secondwith perturbationsin organicphysiologicalpharmacologrand such.A group,sconcepts, furthermore,are manifestedthrough any and all semioticarrange mentsthroughwhich membersparticipatein events,not, of coursc. ,codes'(2004:622 just throughlanguageand language-like n). 2. lames Scott,in SeeingLihe A State,notesthat immigrantsto the ncw modernistcity of Brasiliawere shockedto find a 'city without crowds' ( 1 9 9 8 :i 2 5 ) . 3. It is worth noting that the group' of Freud'stitle is an infelicitous(but quite deliberate)translationof the GermanMasse. 4. Thereis an interestingquestionto be consideredhereaboutthe assumccl origins of affectiveagitation.Most liberal bourgeoistheorists,largely disdainfulof the crowd,tend to assumea nativepassivitywhich requl.", (even attracts) an external infusion of energy.such is the thinkine elucidated,for instance,in Gertrud Koch's fascinatingspeculativc etymologyof the 'mass': 'Mass'possibly stemsfrom the Hebrew,mazzalas in ,matzoh'or un_ leavenedbread,and enteredGreek and Latin as the word denotins breaddoughor lumpsof dough.Theseoriginsare stiil to be sensedin the theologicaldebate
Affect:what is it Goodfor? t 307 tosymbolizetransubstantiation.Inthismanner,theword.massa'that by Christianity enteredthat form of culturalhistoryaswasinfluenced formed' and the and unformed the hqJ u douUt. meaning,spanned broughtthe that spark divine the then, was thus redeemable.-since been gradually has t.it utgi. massto life, or at leastset it in motion' secularized(2000[1996]: 26)' JeanBaudrillardhaspropoundedaradicalizedversionofthisview.He remarks: of the political' nor good [The masses]are neither good conductors in general' conductorsof the social,nor goodconductorsof meaning them' but magnetizes everything gt..Vtt i.g flows through them' do not They trace. a leaving [...] without them diffuies thioughout the outlying from radiate;on the contrary,they absorball radiation are inertia, consteliationsof State,History,Culture,Meaning.They (1985:2)' neutral the of strength the of inertia, the strength prone to electrical Theoristsin a more vitalist tradition (while no less the energeticsof that suggest to conversely, have tended, .tt"pft"^l question' and that in groups to the internal and original are cottectivelife 'on deities (whether by high' the ideathat suchenergiesare iniectedfrom mystification' ideological interested an o, d"-ugog.,es)is the-resultof Hardt and Negri it, fo. initin.g both Ortegay Gassetin the 1930sand ,multitudes'formerthis term the for but seventyyearslaterwrite otihe de,c.ib"salocusofinertiawhereasforthelatteritisthe|onsetorigoo| thoroughnihitism: uitut .n"tgy. Baudrillard'spositionis notablefor its equalsdeath and mediation that idea io the sympathetic oilce t e is at 'the masses'' to unwilling to atiribute any originary energy contrast the rampant - To be quite fair, even Le Bon appearsat times to 5. bureaucraticreason, of hand dead the with favorably crowd .r.igi"'r .f the as'irresponsibility' latter the wherehe identifiesthe sinsof asin"thepassage desPoti-srnoppressive more no is There lhan impersonalityiandperpetuity' : 156)' Here' (2002 form' triple [1895] this under its;lf pretenti tf,at*tti"fr LeBon,scadencesarereminiscentofthequasi-aristocraticNietzschean nostalgiaforaproudaffirmationofindividualbeingthatalsoinfuses y Gasset('the State suchliter criticsof the masssocietyas JoseOrtega 1932 supremacy' [1930]: l21l 19' anti-vital its with society overbears ofcourse'thenmakesamorepopulistreturnintheworkofthel960s FrenchPost-structuralists' O.f
Affect:what is it Goodforz tiog

308 I William Mazzarella 7. rn a way, the effect is analogous to the manner in which the anxi.rr. discourse on the turbulent crowcr served to lend the embattred figurt,r,r the calm, critical subject of public reason a coherence that it othe^r.i,, might not have enjoyed. 8 Such, for instance, has been the tenor of many critiques of Habernrrrs notion of the pubric sphere - namery,that in its radical abstraction (whiclr is then equated with the naturalized habitus of middre classwhite me r it violates the embodied integrity of other lifeworrds (cathoun r99l Robbins 1993).

References Anderson, Benedict. 1998. The spectreof compansons: Nationarisrrr. SoutheastAsia and The World. New york: Verso. Baudrillard,Jean.198J. In the Shadow ol the Silent Maiorities, or, Tlrt, End of the Social And Other Essays.New york: Semiotext(e).' Beiser, Frederick. 1993. 'Introduction: Hegel and the protiem ot Metaphysicslin Frederick Beiser (ed.), Thi Cambridge ComOo)r;,, to Hegel, pp. l-24. Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityipress. _ calhoun, craig (ed.) L992.Habirmas andthi eubtic sphLre.cimbridge, MA: MIT Press. canetti, Flias. 1984 [1960]. Crowds and potter. New york: Farrar Straus& Giroux. chatterjee, Partha.2004. politics of the Goaemed:Refbctions on popular Politics in Most or the wortd. New york: columbia u"iu".ritv pi"r, , Deleuze,Gilles.2001 U972l.,Humei in pure Immanence: nrriys oi o Life, pp. 35-52. New york: Zone. 2001 [1965]. ,Nietzsche',in pure Immanence:Esscyson a Life, pp. 53-102. New york: Zone. Durkheim, Emile' r995 [r9r2].The ErementaryForms or RetigiousLife. New York: Free press. Foucault, Michel. 1977 u9751. Disciprine & punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage. Freud, Sigmund. 1959 119211.Group psychotogt and the Analysisof the Ego. New york: Norton. . 1989 [1930].Ciuilizationand its Discontents.New york: _ Basic. Habermas,fi.irgen.1989 [1962]. The structurar rransformation ii-itt, Public Sphere:An Inquiry Into a Categoryof Bourgeois Siiiii Cambridge,MA: MIT press. Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. 2000. Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University press. Koch., Gert.d. 2000[1996]. Siegfried Kracauer: An Introduction. Princeton,NJ: princeton Univeisitv press.

Populat Mind' Le Bon, Gustave.2002[1395].The Crowd:A Studyof the Mineola, NY: Dover' London: Sage' [1988].TheTime of the Iribes' Maffesoli,Michel. 1996 'Parables Affect' Mouement' Virtual: the For 2002. Brian. f"futtu*i, Sensation.Durham, NC: Duke University Press' Mazzare||a,William'2004..Culture,Mediation,Globalization,,Annual of Anthropologt, 33 : 345-67' Reuiezrs 'lnternet i-Ray: E-Governance,Transparency'and the 2006. 473-505. Politics of Immediation in India,,Public Cttlture 18(2): Sphereand Public The lgg3l]g72l Kluge' Oska. and Alexander Negt, "-Eiwrii"re: proletarian Toward an Analysisof the Bo-urgeoisand Press' Minnesota of Public Sphere.Minneapolis: University Masses'New Otl"g" V Gurr"t, )os6. 1932 [1950]' The Reuolt ol the Nonon. York: pori.i, Itlu* .2001. What's the Mattet with the Internet? Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press' PureImmanence: najctrman,John'2001.'Introductioniin GillesDeleuze' Esscyson a Life,pp.7-23' New York: Zone' Sruce (ea.)-i993.ThePhantom Pubtic Sphere'Minneapolis: noUUitto, University of Minnesota Press. Schemesto S"oli, lurn"i. 1998' Seeing Like a State: How Certain CT: Yale Haven' New Failed' Haae Improue the Human Cindition UniversitYPress. the LanguageSilverstein,Vtichael.2004. "'Cultural" Conceptsand 621-52' Culture Nexu s',Current Anthropology,45(5): The Life and StaroLinski,Jean.ZOOS[1999]. Actiin and Reaction: Zone' \brk: New a CouPIe, of Adaentures He^ry Holt' fuiae, Cufriet. iSOS.The Laws ol Imitation. New York: 'Anthropology SIot: The Savage the and i.ouiir"t, - -po.ti.t Michel-Rolph. 1991. RecapturinS (ed.), Fox in Richard of otherness" and Politici Fe' NM: Anthropology: Worhing in the Ptesent, pp' 17-44' Santa SAR Press. 'Publics and Counterpublicsl Public Cttlture, Warner, Michael. 2002. 14(1):49-90. the Spirit of W"L"r,'Max. 1998 [1920]. The Protestant Ethic and Roxbury' Capitalistn.Los Angeles:


Mazzarella, W. 'Affect: What is it Good for?'. Enchantments of ...

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