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Towards an emotional electoral geography: The performativity of emotions in electoral campaigning in Ecuador


Schurr, Carolin (2013). Towards an emotional electoral geography: The performativity of emotions in electoral campaigning in Ecuador. Geoforum, 49:114-126.

Abstract

Building on feminist geopolitics and emotional geography, this paper calls for an emotional electoral geography that understands electoral practices as grounded, embodied and intertwined with the time-spatial context in which electioneering takes ‘place’. I argue that a performative understanding of emotions not only facilitates linking emotions to certain places, histories and (collective) bodies, but also helps to think of emotions as expressed both through body and speech acts. Empirically, the paper draws on visual ethnographic fieldwork of a local electoral campaign in an Amazon town in Ecuador. The observed emotional performances of female and indigenous local politicians are compared with the emotional performances of national populists who are mainly mestizo men and have dominated Ecuadorian politics throughout the past decades. The research identifies similar emotional patterns turning around a Manichean rhetoric of rabia (rage) and amor (love). The comparison shows, however, that the emotional performances of different candidates performatively generate the gendered, racialized and classed boundaries of el pueblo in different ways in particular times and places. The empirical case study illustrates the claim that electoral geographies need to be more attentive to the emotional dimension of electoral spaces to understand the affective dimension of contemporary populist politics.

Abstract

Building on feminist geopolitics and emotional geography, this paper calls for an emotional electoral geography that understands electoral practices as grounded, embodied and intertwined with the time-spatial context in which electioneering takes ‘place’. I argue that a performative understanding of emotions not only facilitates linking emotions to certain places, histories and (collective) bodies, but also helps to think of emotions as expressed both through body and speech acts. Empirically, the paper draws on visual ethnographic fieldwork of a local electoral campaign in an Amazon town in Ecuador. The observed emotional performances of female and indigenous local politicians are compared with the emotional performances of national populists who are mainly mestizo men and have dominated Ecuadorian politics throughout the past decades. The research identifies similar emotional patterns turning around a Manichean rhetoric of rabia (rage) and amor (love). The comparison shows, however, that the emotional performances of different candidates performatively generate the gendered, racialized and classed boundaries of el pueblo in different ways in particular times and places. The empirical case study illustrates the claim that electoral geographies need to be more attentive to the emotional dimension of electoral spaces to understand the affective dimension of contemporary populist politics.

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5 citations in Web of Science®
9 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:13 Nov 2013 16:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:08
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0016-7185
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.05.008

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