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(GEND) Diversity Strategies and the Politics of Emotion


InstitutionFreie Universität Berlin
RoomIhnestr. 22 UG 2 Seminarraum
StartOct 16, 2019 | 10:00 AM
endFeb 12, 2020 | 12:00 PM

The interest in theorizing affects and the way they shape interactions with others has rapidly increased in recent years, giving way to a lively and wide-ranging discussion in the social sciences about the personal and political implications of affects, feelings and emotions. By blurring the boundaries between the personal and the political, emotions can be powerful tools for political aims. Regarding subjects of diversity and inclusion, and the construction of categories of difference, affect is of outmost importance. The process of institutionalizing diversity strategies in institutions is an endeavour that has been likened by its practitioners to banging one’s head against an unmovable brick wall or made them compare themselves to plumbers, whose actions slowly unblock institutional blockages so that the matter of diversity can circulate around. In this respect, the research has explored the connection of diversity and feelings both in the critical description of diversity as “feel good politics” or by laying the focus on how “diversity talk” becomes “happy talk”. Less attention has been paid to the role that the emotions of those who need to be “taken on board” in the institutionalization of diversity play in the process of circulating diversity matters and doing diversity work. Based on the literature regarding the politics of emotion this seminar explores the way emotions circulate (or not) in the practice of embedding diversity in institutional contexts. With a strong focus on the framework of Sarah Ahmed (2004 & 2012), it argues that paying attention to which, if and how emotions circulate in the various administrative limbs allows us to unveil neuralgic points for the flow or blockage of diversity matters in the organisational body. The politics of emotion become, in this way, crucial to the politics of diversity embedding in institutions.