Interviews as Situated Affective Encounters – A Relational and Processual Approach for Empirical Research on Affect, Emotion and Politics
Bilgin Ayata, Cilja Harders, Derya Özkaya, Dina Wahba – 2019
This chapter discusses qualitative interviews as a method for doing empirical research on affect in political science. It seeks to amend and expand the conventional understanding of interviews based on the methodological practices in neighboring fields such as anthropology and feminist studies. Specifically, the chapter conceptualizes qualitative interviews as situated affected encounters. This enables researchers to analyze affect and emotion in an empirically grounded way while adhering to the main tenets of the interpretative paradigm in social science research. Moreover, the chapter advances a processual understanding of interviews which spans the encounters while setting up interviews as well as the phases after the interviews are concluded and transcribed. We suggest that researchers of affect and emotion in political science can benefit from cultivating emotional self-knowledge and from documenting their own affects and emotions during the research process. Researchers are urged to document the embodiments of such affective flows in their field diaries, both before and after the interview. In so doing, they can translate the immediacy of affect into descriptions of bodily states. Keeping these records makes it possible to pay closer analytic attention to the silences and cracks or to the sudden strange feelings that sometimes impose themselves in situ, and which often only become legible in hindsight.