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Masamune’s Blade

A Proposition for Dialectic Affect Research


Peter Zuurbier and Frédérik Lesage

Affect is so powerful and represents such ripe territory for study that, in its infancy, conventions of research need to be established that attend to its particular motion and shape. Masamune’s Blade: A Proposition for Dialectic Affect Research outlines an original research method for the study of affect known as affect probes, and proposes the establishment of a new knowledge project based in affect. The book begins with a call to discursively reshape research using affect, after which the authors develop a unique conceptualization of affect, one that brings it into the realm of Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The theoretical foundation sets up the affect probe method, which involves giving participants a package of small activities that require fun, easy, and creative participation. The activities are intended both to inspire affects and to mark their presence. Strategies for analysis are outlined and a series of critical interventions are woven throughout the text to situate the ideas.
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Preface and Acknowledgments


This is not your typical research book. Be forewarned, lest you be disappointed otherwise.

The book is a proposition, it offers a different perspective on affect. If you’re intrigued by affect theory there should be something here for you, even if you’re not interested in the research.

What we’re offering is an alternative way of thinking about affect, Critical Theory, research, and our role as researchers. It may be ambitious, it may be provocative, but we want to expand the conversation while underlining the significance of affect. From its growing prominence within the academy to the conspicuousness of its amplified intensity throughout contemporary Western society. We feel affect is emerging as the most crucial contested ground of late modernity. Affect is increasingly used as a coercive force, but inherently it contains within it the potential to overturn entire systems of domination.

The book is intended as a toolkit, an apparatus for understanding affect, for doing affect-based research, and hopefully for shifting perceptions in the process of both. This is not the only way of understanding affect, but we feel it is a useful and rewarding way of looking at it. Our ideas are by no means absolute or definitive, they offer an alternative path, a slightly divergent conceptualization of affect intended to evoke new discussions and new ideas. We understand some people will disagree with our offerings, and hopefully most disputations will lead to new deviations.

There are a lot...

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