Embodied Nationalism: Nations, States, Emotions
Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom
While theoretical talk of globalization and cosmopolitanism was a significant feature of the late 20th century, the beginnings of this century have and continue to be dominated by a resurgence in nationalism and nationalist discourse. This has taken a multitude of forms, and is evident in both popular and political registers. This resurgence has been mirrored in academic work, from across the social sciences, including political sociology (e.g. Bonikowski, 2016; Malešević, 2019), and the emergent political sociology of emotions (Berezin, 2002; Scheff, 2000; Holmes, 2004; Demertzis, 2013; Heaney & Flam, 2013). Here, a new generation of scholars have reopened the question, going beyond the once-dominant top down ‘nationalism as ideology’ approaches to consider more bottom-up perspectives that characterize nationalism as a form of practice (Brubaker, 2004), combining both cognitive and affective orientations to the social world, and involving a more tacit and everyday forms of acculturation and reproduction (Fox & Miller-Idriss, 2008). In this paper I wish to address the endurance and tenacity of nationalism through the development of a concept of ‘embodied nationalism’. This perspective, which draws on previous work (Heaney, 2013), aims to combine key positions on embodiment (a literature that is somewhat silent on the notion of nations), and the sociology of emotions, whilst also accounting for the key role of the (emotional) state in the attempt to (de)legitimize specific versions of nationness within the polity. The case of Ireland will be used to illuminate key points
Emotion, Routinized Charisma and the Entrepreneurial City-State
university of liverpool, United Kingdom
This paper draws on earlier sociology to critique contemporary patterns of charismatic power through the figure of the entrepreneur: the entrepreneurial city, the academic as entrepreneur, the businessman/woman as ‘saviour’. To varying degrees, Durkheim, Weber, Gramsci, Park and Mills, cast the figure of the entrepreneur as a sign of modernity’s looming social malaise and morbidity and its inability to sustain empathy in social relations. The ascendancy of the entrepreneur is detailed in anti-social terms: standing alongside other social ailments - fascism, state coercion, social melancholia and egoistic and narcissistic social relations. This paper explores the entrepreneurialization of the state - as a component of decades of neoliberalisation – and how this has encouraged socially harmful emotional regimes. What are ‘entrepreneurial emotions’ are in the context of state and city building and the forced ambiance and emotional animations that they cultivate? Where is the role of imagination, empathetic emotion and ‘spontaneity’ in an era where charisma and ‘magic’ is prescribed so tightly around the figure of the entrepreneur? What does this government-through-entrepreneurialism mean for what Durkheim called ‘creative effervescence’ as a basis for social solidarity and, more recently, what Lefebvre referred to as ‘the right to the city’?
Enlightened Bourgeoisie: Therapeutic Discourse, Democracy and Nationalism in the Israeli Public Television
Tel-Aviv University, Israel
This talk contributes to the socio-cultural discussion on emotions and nationalism by showing how class culture and national attachment are mutually shaped through the integration of a therapeutic discourse into the national one. I focus on the television program 'Kesher Mishpachti' that was screened between 1986-1997 on the Israeli public channel. This project aimed to introduce counseling practice for real families on television for the first time. The counseling display drew on a Western psychological discourse inspired by Alfred Adler's approach. Through this international therapeutic discourse, the program’s creators intended to inculcate a democratic spirit to the domestic audience. I conducted an interaction analysis of 18 episodes, as well as discourse analysis of hundreds of journalistic articles about the program and its professional counselors. The findings reveal that: 1) the program integrated two cultural codes: the therapeutic and the national. As a national TV, it adjusted the therapeutic discourse to national goals, while simultaneously, as a major popular culture medium, it inserted therapeutic messages into the national agenda. 2) Although the program aspired to represent the "All-Israeli" family, it actually reflected an image of the Israeli middle-class family. I argue that this program played a role in constructing and spreading an Israeli middle-class ethos, by establishing emotional habits that were received as characteristics of a new class distinction. The program aimed to leverage this class culture through nationalism, thereby facilitating its critical role in reshaping the national ethos.
Affective Narratives of Vulnerability: Iran’s Economic Sanctions and the Emotional Politics of Social Media
London School of Economics, United Kingdom
This paper examines the emotional politics of the nation during the period of Western-led economic sanctions on Iran from 2010 to 2015, through analyzing written and visual narratives generated and circulated on Farsi social media platforms. Most previous analyses of Iran sanctions have focused on larger, macropolitical or state-level narratives. I propose a re-orientation towards economic sanctions in terms of the everyday emotions of non-state actors, and examine what this means for the politics of knowledge production. The paper focuses on how economic sanctions were constructed in Iranian social media narratives as the overarching event that challenged, shifted and re-defined how people imagined themselves and national belonging was conceived. It traces the emergence of a ‘vulnerable public’ on social media, attached to the image of the ‘wounded’ nation, which anxiously followed and responded to the media output of the Iranian government in its negotiations with the EU, US and UN in 2013-15. I examine emotions, here, both as bounded and particular, and as shaped by cross-border geopolitics. I contend that these affective-discursive formations should be understood in a postcolonial framework, in terms of the territorialised, differential and unequal allocation of feelings, where empathy is accorded to some bodies and not others