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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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Introduction - A Call to Arms

1. Brian Massumi, A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1992), p. 93.

2. Daisetz T. Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture (Princeton, NJ: Bollingen, 1959), pp. 91–92.

3. Andrew Feenberg, “Lukács’s Theory of Reification and Contemporary Social Movements,” presented at “Vancouver Institute for Social Research.” Vancouver, British Columbia, October 27, 2014.

4. Brian Massumi, “The Future Birth of the Affective Fact: The Political Ontology of Threat” in The Affect Theory Reader, eds. Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 62–63.

5. Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002), p. 44.

6. Michael Mandelbaum, The Meaning of Sports: Why Americans Watch Baseball, Football, and Basketball and What They See When They Do (New York: PublicAffairs, 2004), p. 41.

7. For example, Fenway Park in Boston features the “Green Monster,” a massive 37-foot wall in left field. Constructed in 1912 and located in the middle of the city on Lansdowne Street—a busy thoroughfare directly behind the wall—Fenway Park had to be built within available space, meaning the wall is used to compensate for left field being merely 310 feet from home plate (compared to 420 feet in centre field). The players charged with playing defence in Fenway’s left field must learn...

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