disaffection

A friend and I were chatting today, and he asked about disaffection. What kind of affect, or anti-affect, is it?

Disaffection is not simply an absence of affect. It usually has an object: people are disaffected with something. In some cases, disaffection can be the prelude to rebellion. It’s a kind of low-grade insurrection, perhaps less focussed and less determined than refusal (for which the paradigm is always Bartleby), but more spirited than anomie.

Then there’s boredom. I’m interested in boredom, as both affect and affectlessness. I remember Patrice Petro always suggesting that boredom was a feminist affect, indicating an impatience with the status quo and an unwillingness to hear the same old patriarchal stories told over and over.

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