2nd International Conference of the
Collaborative Research Center Affective Societies at Freie Universität Berlin

Recent years have witnessed substantial transformations of the public sphere that are driven by processes of transnationalization, migration, and digitalization and in turn significantly fuel social and political change. The public sphere continues to be the most important space where these processes and changes and their implications for social coexistence, belonging, and solidarity are debated and negotiated by various actors. Traditional views have portrayed the public sphere as a locus of language-based communicative rationality, deliberation, and the exchange of different views and arguments. The international conference Public Spheres of Resonance: Constellations of Affect and Language will question these normative conceptions and proposes to conceive of contemporary public spheres as often fragmented spaces of affective resonance that emerge from the power of language to affect and to ascribe and instill collective emotion.

This is not a self-evident conjecture because most affect theories suggest to conceive of the social not primarily in terms of language, discourse and conceptual thought, but instead as an assemblage of bodies and their capacities to affect and be affected. Although this is a fruitful correction of existing bias towards overreliance on linguistic categories in the humanities and social sciences, it often oversteps the mark in its disregard for language. Language, in particular in a pragmatic sense and much like affect, is a genuinely relational category in its capacity to convey meaning. However, meaning is not restricted to propositions and denotations but critically involves connotative, associative, and bodily sources.

The conference Public Spheres of Resonance: Constellations of Affect and Language therefore assumes that language not only conveys, represents, and attributes emotions, but also has the capacity to affect and to establish affective resonance, in both consonant and dissonant ways. The conference will investigate this power not only for spoken language, but also for different types of texts as the constituencies of different public spheres (including counterpublics) in which the terms and conditions of social coexistence are reflected and negotiated, for instance politics, media, and the arts. The conference focuses on issues of belonging, the recognition and accommodation of difference, equality, and solidarity and investigates how affect and emotion interfere with, undermine, or fortify established and esteemed rules of political engagement.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Venue: ICI Berlin
Christinenstr. 18-19, Haus 8, 10119 Berlin

18.15 Welcome and Introduction
Anne Fleig & Christian von Scheve

18.30 Keynote
Kathrin Röggla (Berlin)
Es ist die Sprache, stupid! Affekt im öffentlichen Diskurs

In German

with simultaneous interpreting


Kathrin Röggla

Organized by

Anne Fleig (Institut für Deutsche und Niederländische  Philologie, FU Berlin) and Christian von Scheve (Institut für Soziologie, FU Berlin), for the SFB 1171 ‘Affective Societies: Dynamics of Social Coexistence in Mobile Worlds’ (FU Berlin), in cooperation with the ICI Berlin


Thursday, 27 April 2017

ICI Berlin
Christinenstr. 18-19, Haus 8, 10119 Berlin

The conference continues
on Friday and Saturday, 28-29 April 2017
at Harnack-Haus of the Max Planck Society
Ihnestr. 16-20, 14195 Berlin (Dahlem)

KV Public Spheres of Resonance

The event, like all events at the ICI Berlin, is open to the public, free of charge. The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of the ICI Berlin. If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact Event Management.