Affects – Media – Power




Project B02 “Transcultural Emotional Repertoires in and through Reality TV” within the CRC 1171 “Affective Societies” of Freie Universität Berlin and the German Association of Communication Research (DGPuK) division “Sociology of Media and Communication” (in cooperation with the division “Media, Gender and Public Sphere”).


June 29th –  July 1st 2017


Freie Universität Berlin

The social and cultural formations of emotions and affects have been of central interest to social science based emotion research as well as “affect studies” (Gregg/Seigworth 2010) mainly grounded in cultural studies. Media and communication scholars in turn have especially focused on how emotions and affects are produced by media, the way they are communicated through media, and the forms of emotions audiences develop during the use of media. Communication processes can have various affective dimensions: whether as a phenomenon of communication within a shitstorm or a moral panic; as a mode of emotional reception at a distance as in Fremdschämen; or as a trigger for circulation of information in an affective flow (Wetherell 2012; Papacharissi 2015).

The conference wants to add to the ongoing research stream of affect studies and the existing emotion research within media and communication studies. A special emphasis will be placed on exploring structures of difference and power  in relation to emotions and affects. We especially appreciate contributions to the discussion dealing with (but not limited to) the following aspects:

1. Concepts and theories of affect and emotion research

Approaches based in affect studies offer the potential to overcome existing dichotomies between cognition and affect, between the inside and the outside, the psychological and the social. Here, the question arises how these theoretical concepts can be made productive for media and communication studies. In particular, how can we integrate the different approaches with their disparate theoretical presuppositions. This area also includes attention to the role of feminist, queer and intersectional approaches in the social understanding of affects.

2. Methods of affect and emotion research

The conceptual openness and complexities of affects pose methodological challenges to media and communication studies. Therefore, the definition of terms, theoretical development and methodological designs will have to be closely coordinated. Moreover, new empirical procedures will have to be connected to already existing concepts of affects. In this section, we invite presentations on new methods of affect research as well as adaptions of established methods for the research of affects and emotion.

3. Empirical analysis: forms, formats and their audiences

Affects are omnipresent and can be studied in diverse social and mediated forms and formats. This area deals with affects in various media types, genres and formats as well as with explorations of techniques of the affective. For example, questions can be raised about the relationship between affects and technological artefacts, or about the circulation, transformation and renegotiation of affective practices. Contributions may also interrogate the effort and requirements of the performative elements of affective experience. Another area of research examines the affectivity of media appropriation. Empirical work dealing with affective practices surrounding the appropriation of media formats or (media) technologies is especially appreciated.

Filing of abstracts

We invite presentations (duration: 20 minutes), panels (3-4 individual talks) or posters. Contributions for presentations should be handed in as extended abstracts (max. 1000 words including bibliographical references); panel ideas should be submitted with a brief description of the joint topic as well as short abstracts of each individual contribution (max. 500 words each); posters can be submitted with an abstract of 500 words max.

All proposals will undergo blind review. Therefore, we kindly ask you to add to your document (lecture, panel or poster) a separate cover sheet containing information on (1) the title of the contribution as well as (2) the names and contact data of the submitting persons. Please also remember to anonymize your file.

During the review process, the files will be evaluated according to the following categories: (1) Contribution to the conference topic; (2) plausibility and theoretical foundation; (3) adequacy of the approach (also methodology, if applicable); (4) clarity and concision of the submission as well as (5) overall contribution to the field of research (i.e., relevance and originality).

Please mail your anonymized abstract along with a separate cover sheet as pdfs to and before February 15th 2017. We will inform you about acceptance by mid March 2017.

For the organizational team in Berlin

For the sections of the DGPuK