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Affect and Critique: A Politics of Boredom

Anderson, B.

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Abstract

What are the politics of boredom? And how should we relate to boredom? In this paper, I explore these questions through cases where the disaffection and restlessness of boredom have become a matter of concern in the UK and USA at the junctures between Fordism and neoliberalism, and amid today’s resurgence of right-wing populism. I argue that what repeats across the critique of the ‘ordinary ordinariness’ of Fordism, the neoliberal counterrevolution and today’s right-wing populism is a ‘promise of intensity’ – the promise that life will feel eventful and boredom will be absent. As I make this argument, I reflect on the role of critique in the context of the multiplication of modes of inquiry that has accompanied the interest in affect across the humanities and social sciences. Rejecting the dismissal of critique in some affect-related work, I advocate for and exemplify a type of ‘diagnostic critique’ based on the practice of conjunctural analysis as pioneered by Stuart Hall and colleagues.

Citation

Anderson, B. (2021). Affect and Critique: A Politics of Boredom. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 39(2), 197-217

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 10, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 13, 2021
Publication Date 2021-04
Deposit Date Mar 15, 2021
Publicly Available Date Mar 16, 2021
Journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
Print ISSN 0263-7758
Electronic ISSN 1472-3433
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 2
Pages 197-217

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