Political Economy and Emotion: Into the Heart of State, Space and Power

One Day Symposium, Liverpool 11th April 2016

This event brings together a range of academic expertise to create an interdisciplinary space for critical scholars to explore the role and significance of emotion in both facilitating and challenging power relations, social orders and state-political projects. Broadly speaking, the symposium will excavate state projects, the spatialization of power and the course of social-economic conflict and understand these as not merely ‘rational’ phenomena but as aspects of social relations that arise, fall, succeed and fail on the basis of the stability of power blocs understood, in part, as emotional and affective entities. How can we understand state and spatial power through the development of emotional governance, attempts to create collective emotional effervescence, and / or the forging of emotional violence upon those subject to power?

Along with key speakers and contributions from participants this symposium will explore a range of theoretical and empirical questions that include:

- The emotional dynamics and language of power and the politics of inclusion and exclusion (examples: the politics of fear and well-being….)
- The role of emotion in capitalist - neoliberal ‘reason’
- The salience of emotion in legitimating or securing the hegemonic ascendancy of particular forms of power blocs and relations (particularly class, racialized and gendered forms)
- The moral and moralizing dimensions of state power
- The traumatizing affects of state violence (symbolic, bureaucratic mental/physical)
- The role of emotional power in organizing / challenging injustice, oppressive social ordering and violent states

More crucially, how might we understand developments in ‘postemotional’ societies; the politics of disgust and the stigmatization of particular bodies, spaces and groups and the increasing recourse to emotional staging as a means to the legitimation of state and corporate power? In tackling such issues this conference will take a broad focus within a supportive and collaborative atmosphere that hopes to critically interrogate the role of emotion, sentiment and feeling in the making and unmaking of power relations.

For queries about the symposium, please contact Roy Coleman. For other queries, please contact the Marketing Recruitment and Events Team at slsjmret@liverpool.ac.uk.