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Inhaltsverzeichnis

Heft 8 - Jahrgang 5 (2017)
Affektkontrolle
Herausgegeben von Andreas Weiß / Marcus Otto


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Andreas Weiß / Marcus Otto: Einleitung: Affekte und Affektkontrolle in der Moderne
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In his paradigmatic historical-sociological description of the modern process of (Western) civilisation, Norbert Elias has stressed the role of modulating and regulating mechanisms of self-restraint and control of affects which have characterized the emergence of the modern individual. Due to his argument, the body served as a major point of reference and object within this early modern process. However, this did not imply any genuine perspective of a history of the body which has been inspired by Michel Foucault and successive poststructuralist approaches. Yet, from a perspective of such approaches to body history, a historisation and problematisation of the sociological master narrative on the supposed civilisation of the modern subject is needed in particular with regard to the 19th and 20th centuries. This introductory article explores different aspects of this perspective.

Perspektiven

Christoph Görlich / Christian Helge Peters: Die Kraft der Empörung. Affekte als anti-moderne Ausbruchsphantasien
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The article problematizes the contemporary and mostly affirmative understanding of affective processes of outrage and excess in affect theories by outlining a genealogy from the “Conservative Revolution” (Oswald Spengler, Ernst Jünger) to recent works of Peter Sloterdijk as well as Michael Hardt and Toni Negri. All the different approaches have argumentative intersections in their understanding of the relation between affectivity and corporeality: Bodies and affective outrages are emancipatory forces of opposition and change. Affective forces are considered to challenge the oppressive hegemonic culture and its rationality. Creative forces, the force of life and its potential, affective outrage and excess as such gain esteem. It is Friedrich Nietzsches theory of power which is the link between these theories. The genealogy highlights the simultaneity and dissimultaneity of affect control and affective outrages in modern and contemporary, conservative or rather new right and leftist affect theories and demonstrates the anti-modern tendencies in discursive figures of and political fascinations with outrage and excess.

Analysen

Anna Danilina: Shaping Aryan Race: Affect and Embodiment in the Voelkisch Movement (1900-1935)
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The formation of subjectivity in 19th and 20th century Germany evolved in the context of various discourses and practices of racialization and their transnational genealogies. In the ‘Voelkisch movement’, the supposed threat of ‘racial degeneration’ was opposed by a specific education of the individual and collective body, temper, and emotionality. Such education was to yield an affective and corporeal habituation of race. ‘Race-appropriate practices’ such as rune-gymnastics’ primary goal was to cultivate Aryan interiority as a condition for a moral, racial community. Connecting racial nature and culture in a ‘holistic education’, the Voelkisch aimed to cultivate a White German self. This article traces epistemological assumptions of ‘Ariosophy’ and analyzes how the practice of rune-gymnastic was experienced to emotionally, practically, and materially produce racial subjectivity. In turn, it shows how the concepts of subjective interiority and affective intentionality were themselves racialized as White.

Tyler Carrington: The Demystification of Love: Sentiment, Practicality, and the Body in Turn-of-the-Century Berlin
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This essay explores corporeality and the search for love at the turn of the twentieth century, when newspaper personal ads offered an anonymous, disembodied, rationalized, and seemingly “modern” and more efficient method of finding a mate. It demonstrates that bodies were, at every turn, surprisingly stubborn in the face of this supposed rationalization and in fact complicated the attempts of self-consciously modern individuals to disembody and de-sentimentalize the search for love. In this way, corporeality and, indeed, the body itself subverted what was potentially emerging as a “modern” affective regime. The essay then traces this triad dynamic of corporeality, rationalization, and affect into the 1920s—vis-à-vis war invalids and transvestites—and up to the digital world of the twenty-first century, when love and bodies interact in strikingly similar ways.

Max Gawlich: „Ich hab halt gesponnen“ – Affektordnung, Elektroschocktherapie und Subjektivierung in der Nachkriegszeit
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In this paper, I ask to what extent affective states of mourning or depression were identified as problems and subjected to public discourse and psychiatric treatment in post-war Germany. Casefiles from the Asylum of Eglfing-Haar provide the source material for my analysis of the dynamic tensions between individual affect regulation and the societal affective regime. For this study, affects are conceptualized as relational, embodied states that are realized in situational practices. The study shows that for the therapy and its evaluation the ability to work was considered a central social quality to determine affective well-being. After 1945 the ability to socially adapt to an environment of fellow patients and medical personnel became an important factor too. Patients and psychiatrists, often in accord with each other, somaticized depressive, affective states of despair or the inability to meet the demands of their family or of the society. To them, Electroshocktherapy provided a therapeutic practise which enabled contentment and adaptability. To patients, psychiatrists and public intellectuals alike the notion of shock offered also a productive metaphor to describe their contemporary reality.

Esther Wahlen: “Self-control” and “self-knowledge”: fashioning consumer subjectivities in late socialist Romania
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From the 1980s, research on the history of consumption has flourished. Following Michel Foucault’s studies on governmentality, scholars have established a link between liberal political culture and a turn to the responsible, self-regulating consumer. In this paper, I suggest a more integrated look on consumption politics by including authoritarian states into the picture. Exploring the program on “rational alimentation” in late socialist Romania, I show that the authoritarian government under Nicolae Ceaușescu did not primarily use force to make people eat better. Instead, it aimed at self-control and informed decision-making. Doing so, I argue that the program contributed to a “late modern” form of government that transferred social responsibilities from the state to individual consumers.