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Affective States: Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions

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Volume 5

Studies in Social Analysis

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Affective States

Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions

Edited by Mateusz Laszczkowski and Madeleine Reeves

158 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-717-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2017)

ISBN  978-1-78533-718-5 $27.95/£22.95 Pb Published (December 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-719-2 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $27.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“A brilliant contribution that brings political anthropology into ethnographic and conceptual conversation with affect theory. Each of the book chapters provides a unique ethnographic angle on ‘affective states,’ with a fantastic, field-defining introduction.” · Yael Navaro, University of Cambridge

“A pioneering volume on contemporary political life that offers an exciting new approach to theorizing the state through the lens of affect, one that focuses our attention on the powerful structures of sentiment that mediate relations between citizens and government. A must read for those who want to understand the affective intensities of politics in these very uncertain times.” · Christina Schwenkel, University of California, Riverside


In recent years, political and social theory has been transformed by the heterogeneous approaches to feeling and emotion jointly referred to as ‘affect theory’. These range from psychological and social-constructivist approaches to emotion to feminist and post-human perspectives. Covering a wide spectrum of topics and ethnographic contexts—from engineering in the Andes to household rituals in rural China, from South African land restitution to migrant living in Moscow, and from elections in El Salvador to online and offline surveillance among political refugees from Uzbekistan and Eritrea—the chapters in this volume interrogate this ‘affective turn’ through the lens of fine-grained ethnographies of the state. The volume enhances the anthropological understanding of the various ways through which the state comes to be experienced as a visceral presence in social life.

Mateusz Laszczkowski is an assistant professor at the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Warsaw, where he teaches political anthropology, with a focus on place, space, material infrastructures, and affect. He is the author of 'City of the Future': Built Space, Modernity and Urban Change in Astana (Berghahn Books, 2016).

Madeleine Reeves is a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Manchester and editor of Central Asian Survey. Her interests lie in the anthropology of politics and place, with a particular focus on Russia and Central Asia. Her monograph Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia (Cornell University Press, 2014) won the 2015 Joseph Rothschild Prize and the 2016 Alec Nove Prize.

Subject: General Anthropology Sociology


Introduction: Affective States: Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions
Mateusz Laszczkowski and Madeleine Reeves

Chapter 1. Negotiating Uncertainty: Neo-liberal Statecraft in Contemporary Peru
Annabel Pinker and Penny Harvey

Chapter 2. The Fines and the Spies: Fears of State Surveillance in Eritrea and in the Diaspora
David Bozzini

Chapter 3. “Recognize the Spies”: Transparency and Political Power in Uzbek Cyberspace
Sarah Kendzior

Chapter 4. Moral Subjectivity and Affective Deficit in the Transitional State: On Claiming Land in South Africa
Christiaan Beyers

Chapter 5. ‘Father Mao’ and the Country-Family: Mixed Feelings for Fathers, Officials, and Leaders in China
Hans Steinmüller

Chapter 6. The Turn of the Offended: Clientelism in the Wake of El Salvador’s 2009 Elections
Ainhoa Montoya

Chapter 7. Living from the Nerves: Deportability, Indeterminacy, and the ‘Feel of Law’ in Migrant Moscow
Madeleine Reeves

Afterword: Political Timequakes
Mateusz Laszczkowski and Madeleine Reeves

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