Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Kees van der Pijl
Chapter 21: Tracking bodies, the ‘Quantified Self’, and the corporeal turn
The concept of affect is still with us although we still have not fully grasped all its implications for working lives and despite over-saturating a good swathe of recent research. This probably started with the post-autonomists (Hardt 1999 and Negri 1991; 1999), who have sought to revive the ontological dispute between Baruch Spinoza and Rene Descartes. In the seventeenth century these philosophers fundamentally disagreed on whether or not people are subject to an inherent separation of body and mind. The reworking of the concept of affect, sparked by autonomists in the 1960s and 1970s and then again by feminists, geographers and other cross-disciplinary critical theorists more recently, has rekindled this old debate. Today, research on affect is closely linked to the resurgence of precarity. It can be empirically linked to the rise in globalizing flexible labour conditions and increasingly exploitative relations of production in so-called post-Fordist conditions, particularly in cognitive and creative work.
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