Introduction: Empathy, Emotional Politics and Transnationality

  • Carolyn Pedwell
Part of the Thinking Gender in Transnational Times book series (THINKGEN)


Teasing out the ambivalent grammar of empathy across a range of sites where questions of geo-political relations and social justice are at stake, Affective Relations explores the critical implications of empathy’s uneven effects and offers a vital transnational perspective on the ‘turn to affect’. In doing so, it brings together literatures that too often remain separate from one another: cultural, literary, psychoanalytic and neuroscientific writing on emotion and affect, and political, sociological and geographic scholarship on postcoloniality, globalisation, diaspora, neoliberalism and biopolitics. Indeed, the book argues that a relational, interdisciplinary approach — one that crosses, imbricates and reconfigures normative boundaries of discipline, field and subject — is required to explore the transnational politics of empathy in all their fluidity, ambivalence and complexity. As concepts, both ‘tran-snationality’ and ‘emotion’ are animated by the ‘boundary-work’ they perform: Transnationality is often characterised by social, economic, cultural and political flows, circuits and connectivities that exceed traditional borders of nation, culture and community and reconfigure linear and bounded understandings of time and space. Yet transnational formations and relations — from international security technologies to the political economies of popular culture — also generate and solidify new (and old) temporal and geo-political boundaries, divides and technologies of control.


Affective Relation Affective Capacity Transnational Link Transnational Relation Emotional Politics 
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Copyright information

© Carolyn Pedwell 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Pedwell
    • 1
  1. 1.Newcastle UniversityUK

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