In November 2016 FiDiPro Research Fellow Mona Mannevuo was an invited speaker at a seminar on the theme of Affect as Infrastructure in Contemporary Capitalism organized by the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Minnesota. Mannevuo’s paper was entitled ‘Unemployment Activation as an Infrastructure of Feeling: The Case of FEC Training in Finland’. Drawing on the on-going research of the FiDiPro team, Mannevuo suggested that state organized activation programmes can be understood as sites through which the affective registers of the new normal are actively constituted. Furthermore, she argued that these programmes afford ambivalent affective attachments towards the state and to work and working.
Also presenting was Tero Karppi, Assistant professor of Media Theory at SUNY Buffalo. His talk – ‘Facebook’s Futures’ – was based in part on his forthcoming book provisionally entitled Disconnect: Platform Politics of Facebook User Engagement. Using examples from the 2016 US presidential election, Karppi addressed how via social media connections between citizens oscillate between the economic, the affective, the social, and the technological.
As the seminar was held the day after the US presidential election these two talks led to lively debate on citizenship and attachments at the present moment.
While at the University of Minnesota Mona Mannevuo was also invited to discuss her chapter ‘Caught in a bad romance? Affective Attachments in Contemporary Academia’ published in The Post-Fordist Sexual Contract: Working and Living in Contingency at an interdisciplinary reading group on the theme of gender, culture and financialized capitalism. The reading group is organized and facilitated by professor Miranda Joseph, a current Winton Chair-in-Residence at the University of Minnesota. Discussion at the reading group focused around re-thinking the theoretical vocabulary of cultural studies to grasp the messy dynamics of love, labour and capitalism.