Hope, empathy and ambivalence in the body politic

No one would deny that elections (and referenda, which have also been hugely divisive across Europe in the last year) are emotional spectacles. Love, hate, fear, shame, disgust, joy – all these play a role in determining not just how we vote, but how we arrive at our political identities. On top of this, we live in a time when emotions are being brought to the surface more and more. On the one hand, irrational, charismatic charlatans seek to twist the emotions of the frustrated masses to their own ends (and are given more and more of a platform by the media to do so), and on the other hand, a range of liberal and left-leaning voices – from pop psychologists to radical feminist and queer activists – are articulating the importance of kindness, self-care and emotional well-being in building flourishing societies and/or sustaining communities of resistance.

With all of these emotions swimming around, we end up in all kinds of messes, and it’s usually left to those who have the least time or energy available for it to tell us why we feel how we feel and how what we feel is connected to our position in the social hierarchy and why it might be best for us to stop feeling it.[1] Of course, the social hierarchy entails Continue reading