Affective Politics on the Rise: The Emotional Turn in Studying Politics in Asia – The Case of China and India

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Affective Politics on the Rise: The Emotional Turn in Studying Politics in Asia – The Case of China and India
Stream: Political Sciences
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Yunyun Zhou, University of Oxford, United Kingdom (organizer, chair, presenter)
Rongxin Li, Paris 8 University, France (presenter)
Asha Venugopalan, Azim Premji University, India (presenter)
Varsha Aithala, Azim Premji University, India (presenter)
Debangana Baruah, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India (presenter)


In the last few years, a renewal of academic interest in affect (the more embodied and less conscious dimension of the human feeling) and emotion (feelings which are more conscious and anchored by language and meaning) is sweeping through all social science disciplines (Clough and Halley, 2007). In political studies, affects and emotions are considered to be intimately involved in the processes of policy making and governance, the state's propaganda and political mobilisation, and in the lived experiences of individual citizens and their quotidian encounters with political actors and institutions (Thompson and Hoggett, 2012). Following this thread of investigation, this panel aims to expand the current application of the Affect Theory to the studies of politics and governance in Asia: more specifically, in its two most populous countries - China and India.

The four papers in this panel explore the multifaceted role of emotion in shaping political attitudes, actions and institutions. The first paper uses representations in state media like images, films and animations to explore how the authoritarian state in China mobilises the human emotions of pride, happiness and harmony to build a new Chinese national identity in the 21st century. The second paper advocates a non-Western-centered approach to investigate the experiments of deliberative democracy in the rural Chinese 'acquaintance society'. The third paper examines the correlation between people's friendship patterns and prejudicial attitudes towards Muslim and Christian minorities in India. The fourth paper chronicles the complicated lives of the Bengali speaking Assamese Muslim migrant domestic workers who navigate their space in the south of Mumbai city in India.