The issues related to affectivity constitute one of the most prominent objects of the debate in contemporary humanities and social sciences, which is especially visible while exploring the question of subjectivity. In twentieth-century phenomenology there have occurred profound revisions of subjectivity, which restored both corporeal and affective understanding of “subject”. This opened up new lines of research particularly related to the legacy of the classical period (Husserl) and to modern French phenomenology (E. Levinas, M. Henry, J.-L. Marion). Having mentioned this major strand of inquiries, we cannot forget about the post-modern approaches informed primarily by psychoanalysis. Drawing on the Freudian and Lacanian perspective, a substantive body of literature in humanities and social sciences shows the relevance of the libidinal categories in explaining, for instance, the process of forming collective identities, mobilizing social fantasies, generally mapping the impact of affectivity on social outcomes. Particularly the insights by E. Laclau and by other scholars from the Essex School are of utmost importance in the late modern theory, as they demonstrate that affectivity and social ontology are inextricably intertwined. Finally, along the well-examined Foucaultian notion of bio-politics, the problem of affectivity has also policy-based relevance. This is presented in the recent scholarship of Ch. Mouffe who deals with the affective dimension of politics and identification processes that cannot be reduced only to linguistic performativity.
This supplementary volume of “Archive” devoted to “Affectivity and Its Vicissitudes in Humanities and Social Thought” is supported by the Visegrad Fund. It intends to contribute to such a rapidly expanding field of research by presenting papers by scholars from Central and Eastern Europe and strengthening academic collaboration.
The opening article by Gábor Boros shows how Hume’s project, which aims at building an empirical moral doctrine, is deeply related to Cartesian theory of passion underpinned by corporeal affectivity. Furthermore, according to the author the project mentioned is indebted to the moral literature of Montaigne. Peter Kouba’s explores the issue of resentment on the basis of writings by Reich, Nietzsche, Deleuze and Guattari. The author’s interpretation is not narrowed to psychological or moral meanings. Instead, the author regards resentment as a proper analytical device which enables to elucidate immanent socio-political logics of Stalinist or Nazi ideologies. With regard to Anti-Oedipus of Deleuze and Guttari, Kouba also depicts the mechanisms of overcoming resentment taking as an example the exodus of the Roma people persecuted in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. Urszula Idziak’s article covers a relatively unexplored Wittgensteinian approach to magic that implicitly introduces the affective category occurring especially in his late writings. Gábor Kovács’ paper explores the political thought of István Bibó, particularly focusing on the issues of modern politics distorted by emotions and political hysteria. Dagmar Smreková refers to the perspective of Michel Maffesoli’s work, and she analyzes dialectical tensions between vice and righteousness. She concludes that Dionysian-orgiastic elements of culture constitute, to a certain degree, ethics of “the will of life”. Béla Mester analyzes the use of corporal category “illness as metaphor” in the 19th century Hungarian culture. The author also underlines that this category has become a part of a political discussion in Hungary at the threshold of the 20th century. Rafał Smoczyński’s paper contributes to the analysis of the ritual abuse moral panic by focusing on the role of affectivity in triggering anti-Satanist fantasies which led to coercive social control practices in certain Western societies in the 20th century. Bojan Žalec examines the theory of citizenship in the contemporary Slovenian context. The author is particularly concerned with the praxis and virtues of citizens needed for modern liberal pluralistic democracies to function. In the paper devoted to Bachelard, Anton Vydra describes a peculiar case of conversion from the position of scientific rationalism to poetic world view. This transformation involves the analysis of “material imaginaries” understood as the archetypes embedded in the emotional sphere. Alice Koubova examines Ricoeur’s conception of hermeneutical anthropology focusing on Ricoeur’s description of a human being understood as an action that corresponds to the structure of a text. Katalin Bartha-Kovács, in turn, attempts to examine the problem of affectivity as articulated in the early Enlightenment aesthetic theories of J.-B. Du Bos. She especially focuses on paradoxical state of seeking aesthetic pleasures while being exposed to graphic scenes of atrocities and brutal violence. Taking into account the tenets of classical and contemporary phenomenology, Jagna Brudzińska argues that the constitution of both personal reality and social world is conditioned by the pre-reflexive, corporeal as well as instinctual and imaginary-based activity of the subject that is governed by its peculiar rationality. Karel Novotný pursues a phenomenological method of inquiry. He refers to the classical distinction between Körper and Leib in order to firstly investigate the problem of living out ones corporeity, and secondly to discuss the possible limits of the phenomenological analysis on the basis of works by Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Henry and Levinas. The volume closes with the paper by Wojciech Starzyński who with regard to Michel Henry’s work demonstrates how contemporary phenomenology uses the Cartesian discovery of cogito to dispose of intellectual and objectivist components and to seek an affective dimension of the bodily subjectivity.
The journal founded by Leszek Kołakowski, Bronisław Baczko and Jan Garewicz appears continuously since 1957.