On the Technics of Affect: Opportunities and Challenges for International Relations Theory
Daniel Møller Ølgaard
Summary, in English
Emboldened by the aesthetic,- emotional-, and corporeal turns in the study of world politics, International Relations (IR) scholars are increasingly paying attention to the political dimension of affects and emotions. Yet while, so far, affect and emotions have been studied as (micro-political) forces that circulate between bodies in the context of the everyday, little attention has been given to the technological objects and- systems that mediate such transmissions. To address this gap in the literature, this paper investigates what we refer to as the ‘technics of affect,’ that is, the machines, devices and -interfaces through which affective intensities- and sensibilities circulate in contemporary societies. The paper proceeds in three steps. We begin with a review of existing IR literature on affect that identifies the need for scholarly engagement with the technological backdrop of affective life. Second, introducing postphenomenological theory to the field of IR, we outline a conceptual framework that positions the political subject as a body-in-technology. Of particular interest here are the material thresholds of technical objects and the technical milieu these objects are embedded in. Finally, in a not-yet written section, we imagine we will develop the conceptual framework presented in section two through a discussion of concepts that figure prominently in IR literature on affect. While section two introduces postphenomenology to the field of IR, this section is thus about how IR “speaks back” by supplementing postphenomenological theory with an account of power, subjectivity, and political community.