CFP updated: Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships

Published on 4 October 2016 par Equipe GIS IdG

CFP updated: Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships

We invite submissions to an edited book which focuses on the affective dynamics of intimate relationships, especially on the ways in which the social significance of affective inequalities expands our understanding about the operations of power.

Despite the shifts in the ways in which intimate lives are organized in late-modern Western societies, a couple relationship still has a high status and a robust allure. Also various forms of intimate relationships – be it dating, a marriage, a fling or an affair – are expected to offer personal and emotional fulfilment. Yet at the same time both normative and non-normative relationships are sites in which classifications, hierarchies and asymmetries related to gender and sexuality are renewed. It is crucial to notice how such inequalities are increasingly mediated affectively. By arguing that the effects of power relations are accumulated affectively in intimate relationships, this book aims to produce novel knowledge on the ways in which power relations operate in late-modern societies.

The dynamics in and around intimate relationships form a focal point between societal power relations, social interactions and personal experiences. All relationships have their own affective textures, and affective inequalities operate differently in varying kinds of relationships. Affects may give intimate relationships a persisting and meaningful tone that makes them matter. Yet affects can also sustain and uphold unequal and even toxic relationships as well as persuade partners to stay in them. The book seeks to offer a perspective on affect that allows analyzing the affective processes of both maintaining inequalities in diverse relationships and taking up the unknown promise for change.

Applying affect theories to the empirical studies of intimate relationships poses challenges to conventional understandings of what constitutes ‘a couple’. If flows, energies, assemblages, entanglements and relations between bodies – the body’s capacity to affect and become affected – are taken seriously, the idea of a couple relationship as consisting of two autonomous individuals becomes challenged. Also mechanisms of affective inequalities may easily go unnoticed as they are often ambivalent, mundane, ordinary and difficult to capture empirically. Although affective inequality is sometimes difficult to pinpoint empirically, it can be felt intra-personally, and it can be made tangible in interpersonal contact. Hence this book aims to introduce alternative and novel ways for conceptualizing and approaching affective inequalities in intimate relationships, as well as knowing them affectively.

Recommended Topics

We invite methodologically innovative contributions that address how inequalities are produced, mediated and challenged affectively in intimate relationships. The entries may include but are not limited to the following themes

Power and hierarchies

  • What kinds of forces, charges, energies, moods and atmospheres are crucial for developing our understandings of the fabrics of different relationships, but cannot be grasped by employing conventional analyses of power?
  • What kind of efforts are required to make affective inequalities ordinary or to challenge existing power relations?
  • How are affects used to cover, reveal and negotiate power relations and related inequalities?
  • Which forms of (in)equalities are recognized as central in the social realm, or worth academic attention – and how do affective inequalities interact, intersect and relate to other kinds of inequalities?
  • When and how do affective inequalities become politicized?

Norms and everyday affects

  • How do affects constitute the experiences of (in)ordinariness, (ab)normalcy and (non)conformativity within or vis-à-vis a relationship?
  • How are the norms of a dyadic couple or a nuclear family used as tools to maintain affective inequalities within relationships?
  • What are the similarities/differences between ordinary affects and affects that articulate norms? How do ordinary affects differ for different kinds of relationships?
  • How can we trace such affective rhythms – routines, surges, habits, arrests – that form the generative flow of everyday life which produces power relations and asymmetries within intimate relationships?

Intimacies and relationships

  • What kind of affective registers foster the conditions for experiences of intimacy or the lack of it?
  • How do affects travel and resonate in intimate relationships between desiring and desirable bodies? What happens, affectively, when bodies cease to be desiring or desirable?
  • What kind of intersubjective and transsubjective transmission and circulation of affect might enable or change affective inequalities in intimate relationships?
  • What kind of affective investments are required to begin, to maintain or to end an intimate relationship?