Affect and Emotion

Authored by: Candida Yates

Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory

Print publication date:  September  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138696310
eBook ISBN: 9781315524771
Adobe ISBN:


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Psychoanalytic theory can shed light on the emotions and affects that are rooted in the unconscious processes and that are stirred up in relation to political events. Global socioeconomic crises, together with the mediatization of party politics and its links to a celebrity-oriented promotional culture, have contributed to the emotionalization of contemporary politics. Its affective dynamics can be found in the populist content and style of the 2016 UK Brexit referendum and in the 2016 US presidential campaign. This chapter applies psychoanalytic understandings of affect to examples taken from those campaigns, where the emotive language of love, hate, and desire has been used to court the electorate.

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