Coming in from the Cold: Constructivism

and Emotions
ANDREW A. G. ROSS
University of Oregon, USA

A variety of constructivists have begun to address emotions in IR,
viewing emotional events and memories as important dimensions to the
social construction of identity. But it is not clear that constructivist
tools, designed in most cases for interpreting discursive representations,
are equipped to study affective phenomena. This article offers a critical
assessment of constructivism’s ability to theorize affects — noncon-
scious and embodied emotional states — in global politics. Using as an
example the ontology developed by Alexander Wendt, the article
suggests that common presuppositions in orthodox constructivism in
fact obstruct the study of affect and its role in social and political life.
To grasp the depth, intensity, and fugitivity of emotional phenomena,
constructivism needs to rethink its attachments to reflective agency,
ideational processes, and symbolic meaning. Through a brief discussion
of the American response to 9/11, the final section develops several
propositions on the role of affect in forging political identities.

KEY WORDS ♦ 9/11 ♦ affect ♦ emotion ♦ identity ♦ materiality ♦
micropolitics

There are promising signs that emotion is gaining recognition as an
important topic for international relations (IR).1 Over five years ago, Neta
Crawford argued that IR theory had tended to ignore the subject
(Crawford, 2000).2 Now, scholars of various theoretical persuasions are
seeing that relations among states and non-state actors are infused with
emotional significance, and are contending that these impassioned connec-
tions pose new problems for security, ethics, and other areas of global
politics. Realism has long held an interest in emotions, especially fear, but

European Journal of International Relations Copyright © 2006
SAGE Publications and ECPR-European Consortium for Political Research, Vol. 12(2): 197–222
[DOI: 10.1177/1354066106064507]

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European Journal of International Relations 12(2)

most structural realists kept these concerns in the background as they
focused on systemic sources of international conflict. Only in the last ten
years have realists influenced by political psychology returned to the
impulses said to cause group conflict (Druckman, 1994; Mercer, 1995;
Sterling-Folker, 2002). During the same period, but especially over the last
five years, constructivists influenced by poststructuralism have studied
emotional dimensions of political identity. There is now important work
available on: political aspects of trauma (Edkins, 2003, 2004; Fierke,
2004), memory (Zehfuss, 2003), and humiliation (Callahan, 2004;
Saurette, forthcoming); the emotional dimensions of aesthetic expression
(Bleiker, 2006); and the role of emotions in humanitarian intervention
and conflict resolution (Pupavac, 2002, 2004). It is as yet unclear,
however, whether these ideas will gain acceptance in the wider field of
constructivism and whether, if accepted, they will contribute to a more
compelling account of emotion than that offered within realism. To be
sure, both realists and constructivists face daunting tasks ahead if they
are to understand the memories, habits, and passions that make global
politics both volatile and inspiring.
My specific concern here is with the work to be done on the constructivist
side. In many respects, constructivists seem uniquely qualified to study
emotion. They have already arrived at important theoretical frameworks for
understanding identities and norms, and it seems only a small step from here
to the idea that emotions mediate our receptivity to these phenomena.
Indeed, the latter contention is variously expressed in the poststructuralist
research cited above. Notwithstanding these promising connections, how-
ever, there remain significant obstacles preventing constructivism from
taking emotions seriously. Because the study of emotions carries us into
unfamiliar layers of human agency and fugitive dimensions of social life, it
stretches the assumptions and frameworks that define constructivism. For
example, constructivists commonly emphasize the symbolic meanings con-
tained in discourse (Laffey and Weldes, 1997; Wendt, 1999); the task of
excavating this meaning is, for many, what sets constructivism apart from
explanatory modes of inquiry. But are all emotions the kind of thing that can
be said to have ‘meaning’? If, as I will suggest, some emotions are too
inchoate, unexpected, or inarticulate to be imbued with meaning, perhaps
hermeneutics, symbolic interactionism, and other constructivist tools are not
yet calibrated to study them.3 Poststructuralists have made important
attempts to broaden the study of identity to include memories and affects
that lie outside intentional agency and symbolic meaning,4 but these ideas
have not been folded into more orthodox forms of constructivism.5 The
result is that the latter contain as yet no account of how norms, identities
and other intellectual phenomena are sustained by deeper ranges of human

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The stakes of this omission are surely high.8 More- over. as such. I focus on the ‘soft’ constructivism developed by Alexander Wendt in Social Theory of International Politics (1999). Research emphasizing representations of identity as meaning-laden expressions. it provides an exploratory terrain on which to investigate problems shared by other constructivists. Massumi. but in order to facilitate the deep explication of conceptual and ontological problems warranted by the phenomenon of affect. since it allows realists to monopolize the topic of emotions and cast them as basic impulses — insulated from the social world and inhospitable to peaceful coexistence and moral achievement. Exposing these presupposi- tions in Wendt’s ontology will also illuminate kindred traces of intellectual- ism within other species of constructivism. for example. Wendt loses purchase on modes of belief and identity that are inspired and absorbed before being chosen. Only by exposing. his constructivism is left to decide whether emotions are biological impulses of the body or cognitive constructions of the mind — a decision that scientific and philosophical research on emotion has increasingly refused. And. tinge our intellectual beliefs and judgements and prepare us for the identities we come to hold (Connolly. My argument also reflects a selective concern with the specific challenges posed by nonconscious and corporeal dimensions of emotion. not out of a conviction that Wendt’s version of constructivism is either the best or the worst available. Whereas feelings are subjective ideas.7 Recent work inspired by Gilles Deleuze has shown how nonreflective habits and moods. 2016 . by appropriating conventional models of intentionality. The purpose of this article is to identify and develop some of these concepts. 2002. for example. these shared assumptions will need critical modification. affects cut across individual subjects and forge collective associations from socially induced habits and memories. public enthusiasm for nationalist mobilization or military intervention. Ross: Constructivism and Emotion expression. for example. 1988. I do so through a selective critical engagement with one strain of the constructivist literature in IR.6 If constructivism is coming in from the cold. may not fully capture the role of affect in social life. the relationship between cognitivity and materiality in the soft constructivist account of human agency are we in a position to understand how receptive it might be to the study of emotions. as I will 199 Downloaded from ejt.sagepub. Deleuze and Guattari.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. or ‘affects’. Wendt’s Social Theory represents the most explicit and sustained presentation of a constructivist ontology available in IR theory. If constructivists are to see emotions as vehicles of socialization. I suggest that. it still lacks the concepts needed to respond to the realist challenge and to explore fully the emotional terrain of global politics. they are experienced by decision-makers and publics alike. 2002). by separating material and ideational forces. Circulations of affect prefigure.

The final section of the article considers the relationship between affect and identity. Each emotion contributes to this assessment or ‘appraisal’ through a distinct cognitive structure (Lazarus. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) suggest. The first three sections of the article address what emotions are.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. that grief is predicated upon a series of distinct beliefs — that an injury or loss has been experienced by someone. it is available through the self-reports of human subjects. have largely accepted these core features of the cognitivist view. I consider briefly the American response to 9/11 in order to illustrate ways in which constructivism might investigate the affective strata on which collective identities are incipiently forged. and materiality have shielded many constructivists in IR from investigating the embodied social practices through which social identities are internalized.. 1984). 2001: 39–45).10 Most appraisal theorists. it should be said. in this view. 1988). Exploring this affective dimension does not negate the presence of strategic calculations. adding only that these beliefs are socially or intersubjectively 200 Downloaded from ejt. the prevailing view in philosophy. the latter were all the more viable where there were already affective dispositions conducive to military action. have assumed that appraisal is conducted consciously and that. Rethinking Emotions Since the 1960s and 1970s.11 Constructivist accounts of emotion. Martha Nussbaum has recently suggested. others argue that emotions are cognitive but nevertheless ‘nonpropositional’ and not involved in higher levels of cognition (Oatley and Johnson-Laird. I suggest that assumptions about intentionality. meaning. Con- structivists share the idea that emotions are cognitive beliefs rather than bodily states. however. on the contrary. for example. is a cognitive judgement about whether some experience is rewarding or threatening to the self. An emotion. and cognitive science has been that emotions are a species of belief. although not all regard appraisal as a conscious process (Griffiths.sagepub. and how their composite nature demands a revision of Wendt’s image of materiality. Some simply broaden their definition of cognition to include nonconscious processing (Lazarus. 1991. as such. the memories and other affects induced by the 9/11 attacks provoked American voters and elites to converge in their endorsement of military intervention abroad. the role of ‘enmity’ described by Wendt — advocated by elites. 2004). psychology. Ortony et al. how nonconscious affects challenge soft constructivist assumptions about inten- tionality.9 Most so-called appraisal theorists see bodily states as derivative of these cognitive beliefs. Here. and that the injured person is significant to the grieving individual (Nussbaum. 1987). 2016 . The American response has thus been shaped more by these affective states than by the beliefs about social roles — for example.

13 Walter Cannon argued. he did deny that the body’s response was a necessary element of any emotion and that it was as varied as James made it out to be (LeDoux. destitute of emotional warmth’ (James. Freud and. for example. 1950: 450). James’s rigid formulation of this theory invited equally uncompromising criticism.sagepub. rather. and ‘shame’. others remain dissatisfied by its inability to capture their depth and intensity. In his widely cited example. critics argued that James’s theory could not withstand new experimental evidence of the physiological response associated with emotions.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. James complains that descriptive psychology had retreated into endless classification of emotions as ‘absolutely individual things’ (James. especially. the latter would be purely cognitive in form. suggesting that emotions must somehow be produced in the absence of visceral sensations (1984: 144–6).15 Notwithstanding the allegedly decisive criticism James provoked. 2016 . a careful reading of his psychological and philosophical writings tells a more complex story. In 1884. William James. ‘fear’. Ross: Constructivism and Emotion constituted. including their constructivist variant. colourless. Beginning in the 1920s. 1950: 449) because he rejects the notion that manifold 201 Downloaded from ejt. James argued that feelings are responses not to mental recognition of some stimulus but.16 they miss the nature of his concern for the radical diversity of emotional experience. While many theorists are persuaded by the cognitivist approach to emotions. which has remained a key reference point for scientific and philosophical research on emotion throughout the 20th century. pale. or even that these might be what normally set emotions apart from other mental states. James developed a physiological account. have tended to affirm a strict separa- tion of the physiological and cognitive dimensions of emotion.14 Cannon did not deny that the visceral responses were involved in emotions. 1967: 13. we’re afraid of it because we run (1950: 450). we don’t run from a bear because we’re afraid of it. Cognitive theories. Early critiques of James thus inspired cognitivists to explore what they considered the real command centre of emotions — the cognitive machinery giving rise to visceral changes in the first place. 1996: 46). Non-cognitivists have rightly returned to the Jamesian view. that this evidence disproved James’s claim that no emotion could be felt in the absence of visceral stimulus. When Cannon and others fault James for missing the similarity of bodily responses associated with diverse emotions such as ‘anger’. to bodily states alone — ‘Without the bodily states following on the perception.12 One theorist writes — ‘Turning our attention away from the physiological states of individuals to the unfolding of social practices opens up the possibility that many emotions can exist only in the reciprocal exchanges of a social encounter’ (Harr´e. 1986: 5). Cognitivists are inspired in part by dissatisfaction with the allegedly deterministic 19th-century theories of Darwin.

sagepub. 2016 . go through the outward motions of those contrary dispositions we prefer to cultivate’ (1967: 22. James thinks. he argues. and worthy of regard on this present sensational theory’ (1950: 453). is that active modification of the self must take place partly at the level of bodily practice. emotions become our first piece of evidence that sensation might be ‘a much richer thing than is commonly supposed’ (James. It is emotions. toward understanding why our descriptions of emotional experience are indeed so varied (1950: 454). 1976: 148).18 ‘Conscious feelings’. pure. Emotions may result from bodily changes. What it does mean. In fact. they remain no less deep. In the vocabulary of constructivism. it says little about the full composition of an emotion and its relation to cognitive faculties. 1950: 517). LeDoux offers experimental evidence to suggest that emotions are part of an evolutionarily more sophisticated system of emotional appraisal that bypas- ses the relatively slower functions of the conscious mind. emotions take on social and cultural meanings — ‘If they [emotions] are deep. Exposing the complexity of the body’s response to objects of emotion goes a good distance. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) emotional experiences could be reduced to a singular ‘emotion’ with the status of a ‘thing’. Damasio aims to recover and qualify James’s insistence on the necessity of a visceral dimension of emotions. he argues. Emotions in the Jamesian view are the body’s first responders in its relations with the bodies around it. the bodily dimension of emotions does not remove them from the reflections of a thinking agent. James’s view was never so simple. notwithstanding this physiological origin. worthy. this means that the involvement of the body in emotions is part of their social nature. For James.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. though. but this is only a story about their complex genesis. pure. James’s theory has recently received scientific support from neurobiolo- gists who regard emotions as primarily nonconscious responses of the brain and body. emphasis in original). He did regard emotions as bodily responses over which conscious agents initially have little control. spiritual facts on any conceivable theory of their physiological source. ‘are the frills that have added icing to the emotional cake’ (1996: 302). that bring us closer to a ‘pure experience’ that exceeds familiar linguistic concepts (James. Understood as diverse sensations emerg- ing from the body’s periphery.17 It is here that James’s psychology of emotions intersects with his later philosophy of ‘radical empiricism’. James’s theory has also been widely misrepresented as a seminal contribu- tion to a reductionist or ‘hydraulic’ model. Damasio accepts 202 Downloaded from ejt. 1976: 73). agree that emotions are appraisals of external stimuli but disagree with the notion that such appraisals might be uniformly available to consciousness. . It is for this reason that he suggests: ‘We must . James thought that. However. for which emotions are uncontrollable bodily eruptions (Solomon. spiritual. Joseph LeDoux and Antonio Damasio. . for example.

or anxiety. and other adaptive responses (Marcus. Lower levels of emotional response. Marcus’s ‘affective intelligence model’ overstates the distinction between enthusiasm/habit. and anxiety/surveillance. such as anger or joy — ‘Each reaction consists of tinkered rearrangements of bits and parts of the simpler processes below’ (2003: 38). which are both partly outside consciousness and subject to education and socialization through experience. each with a relatively stable function. The relative openness of research in neuroscience alters the possibilities for its historical application.sagepub. creative solutions. Although this research agrees with LeDoux and Damasio that appraisal is conducted below the level of conscious awareness. such as habits and moods. which he thinks gives a conservative valence to ‘normal’ political behaviour. been appropriated by political psychologists who underestimate the social complexity and adaptability of affect. to stir the mind into action. The brain. but he missed an important corollary operation executed by the brain. According to Damasio. Marcus et al. it develops a varied network of enhancements.19 Thus. 2002. For him. he argues. which generates enthu- siasm. the body is not a simple or closed system. Damasio regards the distinction between positive and negative affect as less important than the ‘nesting’ patterns among levels of emotional response. Damasio is reluctant to give these processes a determinate form. 2004: 7). His favourable acceptance of dualistic 203 Downloaded from ejt. which enters only under unusual circumstances (2002: 81–7). He contrasts this with negative affect. develops an artificial mechanism for simulating bodily responses.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. adaptable system is what sets apart this nonreductionist research within neuroscience. as well as the creative operations of the brain itself. 1999). For example. education and experience become folded into brain processes in ways that alter the nested system of emotion (1994: 179). modify nature in ways that make it difficult to identify stable emotional systems. James’s hunch about visceral response was correct. for example..20 Thus cultural influences. are integrated into higher forms of emotion. 2016 . Understanding emotion as part of an open. which surveys sensory data for disruptions that might demand new ideas. regulates the everyday habits that govern normal participation in political life. a related and growing body of neuroscientific research has identified two autonomous systems of affective response — one for positive stimuli or rewards and one for negative stimuli or threats (Cacioppo and Gardner. 2000). Ross: Constructivism and Emotion James’s discovery that the body and its visceral processes are fundamentally involved in emotions but relaxes the claim that these processes might be directly implicated in all emotional experiences (Damasio. By contrast. it divides all responses of the brain and body into two distinct systems. George Marcus argues that the system of positive affect. The research cited above on positive and negative affect has.

The forced distinction between habit and surveillance is. 1996). as William Connolly has argued. Rethinking Constructivist Ontologies Wendt’s constructivism offers a useful entry point into the ontological problems posed by the micropolitics of affect.sagepub. and identities. cinema. Although neither LeDoux nor Damasio directly study the social and political consequences of his research. 2002. 2016 . As I will suggest. deterred by the nonreductionist tenor of work by James. 2002). this work specifies the social experiences and historical circumstances through which affective responses are modified. These insights might be used to formulate non-deterministic. In this view. These sources thus offer constructivists not irrefutable evidence but contestable insights into biological dimensions of social processes. and to assess the macro- political forces and structures these responses together inspire. Constructivists should see interests as 204 Downloaded from ejt. everyday events such as popular demonstrations. Central to Wendt’s Social Theory is a contention that the social dynamics of international politics require a new account of interests.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. and political doctrine (Connolly. popular commitment to transnationalism is conditioned by affectively charged memories of global events such as World War II (Robbins. For Deleuze. however. workplace. Massumi. affective dispositions condition involvement in a wide variety of political communities associated with religion. This work lends itself to more open-ended applications and is attentive to the complex mixing of biological and social processes. viewing affect as part of a rich field of cultural construction and micropolitics (Connolly. media representations. ideologies. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) models of affect thus seems to result from a normatively thick typology of political behaviour. it is possible in each of these cases to study the social practices giving rise to affective responses. affects are not subjective states but ‘resonances’ that connect individuals in collectivities such as a nation or political movement. public speeches. while global communications technologies are increasingly allowing for affective connections within transnational diasporas (Appadurai. 1988: 214). Such a formulation would combine an understanding of affective pro- cesses with historical analysis of the social practices and events that condition them. In his collaborative writings with F´elix Guattari. historically informed inferences about the role of affect in political life. 2002). 1999).21 theorists inspired by Deleuze have moved in this direction. the fascist movements of the mid-20th century form the paradigmatic case of such resonance (Deleuze and Guattari. Reaching beyond the clinical parameters of neuroscience. and Damasio. Each induces affects that shape our receptivity to social and political movements. Beyond the nation. But. and internet transmissions are involved in forging new affective dispositions. LeDoux.

The problem. identities. the conventional view suggests. He recodes most desires as forms of belief — cognitive appraisals of the possibilities and conditions of action. Wendt’s theory effectively pushes cognition further back into the behavioural terrain hitherto occupied by desire. is part of the belief structure involved in motivating action — ‘To have an identity is simply to have certain ideas about who one is in a given situation’ (1999: 170).22 Wendt argues that. material forces determine interests only in exceptional circumstances (Wendt.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. by two successive and separate components — desire and belief. they have nevertheless insisted on a strict separation of desire from belief. although rationalists have been reluctant to specify of what desire consists (1999: 115). Each schema represents a set of beliefs that give meaning to material forces — beliefs about what role or model of state behaviour is most appropriate (1999: 262). In his account. Human action is motivated. Rather than discredit interaction as a unit-level phenomenon. These arguments are fundamental to Part II of Social Theory. Consistent 205 Downloaded from ejt. is that this revised conception of interests is blocked by prevailing assumptions about the nature of human agency. rationalists have been able to view desire (or passion) and belief (or reason) as essentially distinct phenomena — desires motivate action. contra realism. Rightly dissatisfied with this distinction. emphasis in original). for Wendt. Thus. through the continuing influence of Hume. Having established that interests are primarily governed by beliefs about appropriate goals. beliefs qualify or represent the world in which action is to take place. for him. And central to interaction for Wendt is the reciprocal recognition of identities. in which Wendt outlines the prevailing ‘schemas’ or ‘cultures’ of anarchy. agents act according to ideas about who they are. Ross: Constructivism and Emotion above all social and ideational phenomena. for a desire without belief would be a mere urge without direction (1999: 123). Wendt appeals to eclectic sources to establish an account of motivation as a cognitive ‘schema’ whose terms are defined by social institutions. 2016 . according to social norms and ideas (1999: 122). Wendt develops an account of state behaviour for which interaction is regulated specifically by the social meanings associated with material forces. 1999: 114–15). ‘Identity’. Wendt proposes a ‘cognitive theory of desire’ (1999: 119.sagepub. Further. The central contention of Wendt’s constructivism is that these schemas have motivational force of their own and explain more of state behaviour than do conventional accounts of material forces. Wendt establishes it as integral to the international system. and norms on interests — effects largely overlooked by realism. His analysis of interactionism aims to correct Waltz’s premature removal of interaction from system structure. Constructivism is thus capable of addressing the influence of beliefs. desire consists of knowledge about prevailing social standards.

emphasis in original). Social roles are. he explains. or ‘enemy’ achieves widespread recognition.25 Wendt qualifies this. This affinity between social identity/interaction and intentional. The concept of identity thus allows Wendt to lodge intentionality at the centre of social interaction. 2016 . however. For rational choice.’ (1999: 329. cognitive agency leaves Wendt’s soft constructivism intellectually over-prepared. ‘a property of intentional actors that generates motivational and behavioural dispositions’ (1999: 224). But. Wendt extends to these ideas a motivating force of their own. For Wendt’s inter- actionism. actors gradually bring subjective identity (Mead’s ‘I’) into step with an objective.sagepub. ‘micro-structural’ components of a social system rather than properties of agents. they are. Is it public opinion? Subliminal norms? Emotions? Wendt ultimately offers us little to work with. however. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) with his modification of the rationalist understanding of intentionality. and Wendt too notes that ‘role-taking is seen at some level as a choice. it becomes a ‘macro-structural’ force that gives meaning to the social environment of the international system. Moreover. Wendt explains that. on what basis is the choice being made? What are the nonreflective influences contributing to it? We know from Wendt’s earlier discussions that it cannot be desires or material interests. Borrowing from Mead.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. an actor’s consciousness of choices is initially irrelevant — an intentionality is imputed without the need for empirical verification of actual intentions. ‘rival’. for it is conscious reflection upon competing role identities that confirms Wendt’s claim that social construction extends beyond the level of mere behaviour. for him. he argues. As a role identity such as ‘friend’. with the statement ‘no matter how unreflective that choice might be in practice’. of a “Me” by the “I”. Inter- actionism cannot.23 Although the ontology in Part I of Social Theory delineates four forms of identity. be a merely formal theory of behaviour akin to rational choice. Wendt’s appeal to interactionism is tied to and regulated by his cognitive theory of desire. Assuming it is possible to make a choice that is ‘unreflective’. .26 In this way. . Intentions are unnecessary since formal theories are designed to yield empirically testable hypotheses about behaviour. choice must also be an empirical actuality. But he doesn’t tell us what occupies the space between reflective and ‘unreflective’ choice. his ontology of motivation seems to close off the problem by requiring that roles be consciously adopted beliefs. not descriptions of reasons for action. as it 206 Downloaded from ejt.24 Wendt’s discussion of the states system in Part II privileges ‘role’ identities. over repeated interactions. socially sanctioned identity (Mead’s ‘Me’) (1999: 329). Especially important to this intentionality is the idea that identity consists above all of consciously adopted roles. to what extent do actors assess and adopt the meaning of the ‘Me’ consciously? Mead ultimately views role-taking as a self-conscious practice.

Ross: Constructivism and Emotion were. its principles being sufficiently ‘violent and alienated’ to preclude overt codification (1999: 272). These ideas lead him to suggest that ‘the role that unconscious processes play in international politics is something that needs to be considered more systematically. In the later chapters of Social Theory. these remarks are nevertheless a weak remedy for the intellectualist bias of Wendt’s ontology. these isolated remarks make no attempt to integrate nonconscious levels of agency into a constructivist account of what human beings are and how they act. While suggestive. But. 2016 . for example. Composite Emotions and Materialist Explanation My concern here is not to dismiss Wendt’s social constructivism per se. To begin with. a relatively truncated account of material phenomena. rather than alter the oppositional structure of this dualism. Wendt’s constructivism in fact 207 Downloaded from ejt. that the form through which ‘cultures of anarchy’ are internalized is highly variable — a Hobbesian anarchy internalized to the second degree must rely. Earlier. Wendt thinks. He recognizes. These assumptions permit. Wendt gestures toward the importance of these phenomena. characteristic of primitive or Hobbesian forms of anarchy. Wendt argues that individuals. It is now clear that. a Hobbesian anarchy internalized to the third degree may rely upon ‘unconscious’ forces of aggression. in such a view. while principally motivated by desire qua belief. they seem to reflect the idea that ‘unconscious’ internalization constitutes a strictly pathological form of socialization. Higher cultures of anarchy would. he had promised that constructivism would ‘overcome the Humean dualism of desire and belief’. be internalized through the normal. that cognitive beliefs about social ideas might be the primary or exclusive means through which social structures and values are repro- duced. expanding the range of application of cognitive activity is tantamount to establishing the salience and significance of social dimensions of political life. For Wendt. in turn. to study the multiple ranges of human agency.sagepub. are nevertheless subject to pre-social (‘biological’) needs. The presence of this discussion illuminates Wendt’s engagement with rationalist theories of motivation. Sociality is first and foremost a cognitive phenomenon for him. investigating how ideas and identities operate as motivating forces and channels of socialization is an important direction for constructivist research. alternatively. more importantly.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. on ‘tacit’ norms. My concern is with the assumption. Wendt merely extends belief further back into terrain hitherto occupied by desire and consequently reduces the scope of desire conceived as a brute material force. this concession constitutes what he calls a ‘rump materialism’ (1999: 130–3). which seems to underlie his discussion of these topics. cognitive channels. not dismissed out of hand’ (1999: 278).

The result is that the residual. and ideas is greatly expanded. This qualification does not. is always connected to socially constituted identities and interests (1999: 130). to advocate a ‘materialism’. for example. He explains. and other intellectual phenomena. If ideas constitute material forces most of the time. however. What makes a theory of bodily responses a ‘materialism’. But for him. Wendt’s ‘rump materialism’ is said to be an alternative to the ‘vulgar or reductionist materialism’ endorsed by neorealism insofar as the former views material forces as normally constituted by socially defined interests. therefore. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) affirms the opposition of material and ideational ‘stuff’ even as it works to expand the domain of the latter. At least in the field of emotion. 2016 . norms. ‘The relationship between material forces and ideas works both ways’ (1999: 112). The ‘material ground’ of ‘human nature’. the proportion of human agency occupied by socially constituted values. we need not make an either/or decision between materialist and ideational explanation. this is not all they are. Wendt thinks. To theorize affects as material dimensions of social life is not. But. is the presumption that these material phenomena are ‘base’ reflexes (1950: 453).com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. motivating agents directly only during ‘hotel fires’ — when instinct surfaces to trump norms. the technological composition of material capabilities and geographical condi- tions still represent determinative causes in some situations (1999: 110–11). As noted earlier. as James argues. the bodily origins of an emotion do not completely govern its composition. for James. as the neo-Jamesians suggest.sagepub. beliefs. while sensations are reflexes. Affects are the habits and memories that prepare in us a receptivity to norms. that material forces such as the distribution of material capabilities. while it is central to Wendt’s constructivism that material forces are usually and mostly constituted by social meanings. some neuroscientists regard corporeal dimen- sions of emotion. the material/ideational dualism will need a deeper revision than soft constructiv- ism allows. composite states. belief about identity takes on a motivational capacity of its own and. In Wendt’s account. through it. But if emotions are. constructivism needs to resist the idea that either material or ideational forces are causally determinative in a given situation. material forces set limits upon the scope and composition of ideas. as susceptible to modification through education and everyday experience. ‘there is nothing sacramental or eternally fixed in reflex action’ (1950: 454). Deleuzians regard affects as supple vehicles for social norms. Thus. Recognizing the richness of sensation allows him to track the material involvement of emotions without constructing a materialism as such. To capture emotional dimensions of global politics. identities. 208 Downloaded from ejt. allow for a synthetic understanding of the material and ideational processes involved in composite emotions. as well as cognitive feelings. for example. pre-social dimension of desire plays a diminished role.

predictable conjunctions of cause and effect. Emotion. 1977). he insists that sensation is infinitely complex.27 If the ‘relationship between material forces and ideas goes both ways’. Indeed. it is their constitutive effects that Wendt aims to theorize. To the extent that material forces shape the social world. James agrees with Bergson that the relations we perceive never fully exhaust the flux of lived experience (James. in the neo-Jamesian view. Ross: Constructivism and Emotion A neo-Jamesian conception of emotions avoids giving priority to either materiality or ideas in a given case and sees bodily and cognitive processes as co-involved in every affective response. subtle and overlapping — a much richer thing than heretofore supposed. a materialism. calls for a significant revision of social scientific conventions concerning causal explanation. however. Indeed. the movement of specifically constitutive effects goes only one way. To understand this problem of causality. to theorize materiality one must develop an account of the causal effects of material forces — in short. While ideas also act causally. 1999: 111. In Principles of Psychology. in other words. social norms.sagepub.28 If materiality in the form of bodily emotions is regularly involved 209 Downloaded from ejt. emphasis in original). James emphasizes the causal nature of his investigation (1950: 453–4).com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. as one last discussion of Wendt illustrates. a special mode of human agency for which conventional models of causal determination are inadequate. it regards emotion as a synthesis of bodily responses. The composite nature of emotions is part of what makes them an especially sensitive way of connecting to a world of complex social relations. we might revisit briefly the reasons why James’s theory of emotions intersected with his radical empiricism. 2016 . ideas are sources of motivation without being direct or efficient causes of action. Wendt applies this innovation only to ‘ideational’ forces. Wendt’s constructivism points to the need for an alternative ontology for which the materiality of the body is constitutively involved in identity-formation and socialization. but what does he mean by ‘causal’? Conventional views of efficient causality suggest that causal inquiry must identify repeated. The primary objective of Wendt’s constructivism is to outline the ‘constitutive’ effects of social ideas — ideas constitute the identities and interests from which behaviour is motivated. While he regards bodily sensa- tions as necessary to all emotions. so rich that establishing clear causal relations between one discrete sensation and an emotional feeling becomes difficult. Emotions are. they do so as causal forces — they ‘affect society in a causal way’ (Wendt. for Wendt. Radical empiricism does not presuppose in advance that sensations conform to regular causal relations. and overt beliefs. James regards these conventions as too structured to capture the variability and individuality of emotions-as-bodily-changes. The interesting question in this view is not whether material forces exert any residual influence in a social world (‘ideas all the way down?’). Unfortunately. Thus. constructivism is not wholly unprepared for such a revision.

1999: 39). the result is a tendency to assume that any expression of ethnic origins has emotional resonance. some version of Wendt’s assumption that identities are above all meaning- laden representations. 2016 . address the question of how these identities are internalized below the level of consciousness. we can support the contention that identities involve roles. although many are increasingly calling it into question. Toward a Theory of Affective Identity Constructivism in IR has succeeded in establishing identity as a key component of global political relations. in this view. Walker Connor’s account of elite 210 Downloaded from ejt.sagepub. popular culture. that actors need not be conscious of social identities for these to have discursive reality. 1990: 61. For example. and other discursive representations. Wendt’s neglect in accounting for the space between reflective and unreflective acceptance of identity is widely practised by constructivists. Theorists of national identity. quite rightly. One need not deny the importance of this work to see that it does not. Hall. and other forms of agency. however. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) in judgements. Many constructivists share. however. Constructivists are thus able to trace. using interpretive methods. decisions.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. for example. instrumentalists suggest. As poststructuralists and others at the margins of constructivism are recogniz- ing. have generally presumed that individuals actively reflect upon the symbols and ‘legitimating principles’ associated with some construction of national iden- tity (Bloom. the communicative conditions under which symbolic expressions have emotional impact. the concept of identity represents one area in which to address this question. Instrumentalist accounts of nation- alism and ethnic conflict presuppose a similar cognitive connection between symbols and the identities of which they are said to be symbolic. and other forms of social meaning and still want to learn about the nonconscious processes that reproduce and transmit them. an important element of the constructivist logic suggests. not all constructivists agree that identities are in fact consciously recognized by the agents who express them. Identities. Investigating these processes differs from existing research on emotional dimensions of identity by relaxing the expectation that such emotions involve reflection and meaning. the circulation of identities in historical narratives.29 It is this cognitive content of social discourse. that allows leaders to deliver speeches that are predictably conducive to the construction of a specific identity — elites allegedly appeal to historical symbols or representations known to be associated with an identity. Admittedly. Focusing on the cognitive resemblance of symbols overlooks. the crucial question is ‘how is it involved?’ As I suggest below. however. symbols. have all the coherence and determinateness of consciously held beliefs about social roles.

and memories through which trauma is retained? Perhaps trauma is a version — an especially complex and intense one — of the affective experience that characterizes the everyday life of micropolitics. which only appear as part of an identity after the fact. 1993: 31). affective dimension of identity. For Edkins. even in a preliminary way.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. In his analysis of the Bosnian conflict. by addressing the inarticulable dimensions of identity. As a result. Poststructuralist research has gone furthest in this regard. 2016 . 1989: 55–6) and the importance of ‘dormant’ or ‘potential’ identities (Waever et al.30 Requiring cognitive resemblance between utterances and identities conceals modes of expression that prepare us affectively for social identities. trauma exceeds the conscious awareness of intentional agents — ‘We are not able. Kratochwil. But do these challenging dimensions of affectivity necessarily prevent us from tracing the habits. they are instead created through repeated performances.32 A Deleuzian perspective gives us a way of talking about these experiences even as they remain unspeakable for those 211 Downloaded from ejt. More nuanced theories recognize the unspoken or tacit dimension of rule-following (Onuf. and exposure to trauma can move us to remember this formative deficit (2003: 12). ideational things. comportments. but these observations have not been developed into a broader account of the nonconscious. Appealing to Derrida.sagepub. 1989: 51–2. Deconstruc- tion thus discloses only traces of this ‘violent’ foundation of identity (1998: 200). David Campbell suggests that ethnic identities are not pre-existing. It is beyond the realm of what we expect as intentional action’ (2003: 39). Ross: Constructivism and Emotion discourses takes for granted the correspondence between the cognitive content of ethnic origins and the magnitude of a speech’s emotional impact. Edkins practises admirable caution and modesty in approaching the non-intentional and inarticulable dimensions of trauma and memory.. In her Lacanian account. His deconstructionist analysis reveals the need for a more direct investigation of affectivity as part of the non-representational or ‘mystical’ dimension of language. Campbell argues that these perfor- mances ultimately acquire their legitimacy through ‘mystical foundations’ that are within language but outside representation (1998: 26). for example.31 What sets Edkins’s analysis apart from other work in IR theory is its emphasis on trauma as an inarticulable interruption of identity. to say “what happened”. Most notably. available to and chosen by volitional agents. The inarticulable dimensions of identity have been importantly addressed in recent studies of trauma and memory in international politics. Campbell tends to view performance from the perspective of the product it engenders — discursive representations of ethnic identity — rather than the bodily performance itself. some part of us cannot be represented through the symbols available in language. Jenny Edkins argues that experiences of trauma can provoke new dispositions that disrupt otherwise stable political identities.

Analysis of micropolitics requires generating meaningful inferences about the social role of affectivity without resorting only to subjective self-reports expressed in surveys or other qualitative research methods. the attacks activated a variety of historical memories and popular habits not cognitively related to 9/11 as such. Critics charged that the war in Afghanistan. acceptance of heightened security 212 Downloaded from ejt. but as affective energies whose precise form is subject to the vicissitudes of public discourse.34 Rather than cause a specific feeling. Certainly. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) involved. these qualities should not bar constructivists from studying them. conservatives contend that the predominant response was not an ugly vengeance but a legitimate expression of anger. was a knee-jerk. and they lament the speed with which that feeling subsided (Bennett. Although micropolitics is not limited to spectacular or violent events. trauma. and if so why did these feelings dissipate so rapidly? One way of responding to these questions is to view these affective responses not as coherent ‘feelings’. But what does it mean to say that Americans responded with ‘vengeance’? Surely few Americans accepted the identity constructions of victim and perpetrator seemingly required for an overt feeling of revenge. This view focuses on the exchanges and fugitive crossings that make emotional responses so mutable and difficult to identify. 2003). 2003: 7). 9/11 also provoked a wider repertoire of emotionally imbued responses involving aesthetic experience. Among foreign policy hawks.sagepub. But are these descriptions of ‘anger’ any more capable of capturing the diversity of affective response to the attacks? Did many Americans actually feel something akin to anger. Many Americans reverted to wartime habits — fear of further attacks. On a popular level. such as vengeance or anger. 2016 . launched within just one month of the attacks. the terrorist attacks sparked an immediate desire to remove the Taliban and a revitalization of aspirations to invade Iraq (Kessler. 2003). 2002. It is perhaps undeniable that narrative constructions of identity and other symbolic representations of the nation were intensified after 9/11. 9/11 provides a useful reference point for investigating affect.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. and memory.33 As some theorists have begun to suggest. Social scientists can meet this challenge by examining fine-grained historical and ethnographic accounts and distilling from them processes unexplained by theories emphasizing normative change and instrumental agency. impulsive expression of revenge. While emotions may at times be mystical and ineffable. What kind of emotions were these? The nature of Americans’ emotional responses to 9/11 has become the subject of some controversy in public discourse. to the attack on Pearl Harbor (Weber. these methodological problems demand more attention than I am able to give them here. Elshtain. for example. On the other side. Popular imagination quickly forged analogies. the events of 9/11 induced a general upheaval in public moods. however.

the intensity of this micropolitical synthesis diminished. and beliefs that together comprise a particular construction of the self (Deleuze and Guattari. but it seems unlikely that he or his advisers could have planned all the crossings and resonances they evoked. embodied memories.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. But before many Americans could develop too much scepticism of their own. and a demonization of opposition to war. 2003).36 The response to 9/11 was not an automatic response of anger or revenge. Bush was able to secure broad support for the idea that America needed to take action to protect its signature values. An affect is not a property of an individual but a capacity of a body that brings it into some specific social relation. 2016 . This case offers two principal insights into the nature of affect and its relationship to identity. As September 11 became more distant. to enact foreign policies with what many observers considered dubious justifications — especially the assertion that Saddam Hussein had been partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks (O ´ Tuathail. memories. 213 Downloaded from ejt. This is not to suggest that Bush intervened in micropolitical processes with the degree of control supposed by instrumentalists. Ross: Constructivism and Emotion measures and McCarthyist intelligence practices. broadcasting homeland security warnings. Damasio. The spectacle of the attacks.sagepub. 2003: 863. By espous- ing the essentially ambiguous principle of ‘freedom’. and ambiguous forms of religious discourse enabled the Bush Administration to capture popular energies without directly appealing to people’s capacities for political judgement (O ´ Tuathail. 2003: 866) and the slippage between claims that Iraq had weapons programmes and claims that it had actual weapons of mass destruction. The Deleuzian view suggests that affects are nonsubjective — they do not define the self but exist as strata. casual body language. it was a synthetic process that crystallized a variety of memories and emotional states into a public mood or moods conducive to militarist response. and Deleuze. and the events of 2001 folded them into contemporary perceptions and judgements. and as the military activities in Afghanistan progressed. First. He used modes of expression whose ambiguity and experi- mentality facilitated mobilization. such as a nation or political movement. it confirms that emotions are strictly neither individual nor collective. and memorializing 9/11 — all made it possible to sustain public enthusiasm for continuing the military response into Iraq. Many of these affects already existed as virtual. alongside the numerous other habits. and their reproduction in visual and televisual media. Critics outside the US became uncomfortable with the idea that the war on terror might be expanded to a series of interventions in the Middle East. the Bush Administration stepped up its cultivation of affective support. as visual reminders of it became fewer. for example. This affective mobilization made it possible. moreover. 1994: 163).35 activated the bodily habits and memories identified by James. Catchy slogans. Goodstein. Denouncing Saddam Hussein.

Affects infuse our beliefs and judge- ments in ways that regularly escape our attention but nevertheless connect us to collective agencies.sagepub. Under- standing affect in this way thus helps explain the phenomenon of over- lapping identities. Nor do these responses consist only of feelings like ‘revenge’. Having done so.37 Affective resonance bypasses standards of symbolic resemblance between sources of frustration and their alleged remedies. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) A collective identity is sustained by habits and memories shared by members of a group. religion or workplace) to become assimilated into a temporary affective economy. institutions. Only by streamlining these cross-cutting connections do the events discussed above make it possible for the nation to appear as a simple aggregate. These syntheses also allow affective experiences from disparate social fields (e. for example. 2016 .g. Second. which involve explicit construction of victims’ and perpetrators’ 214 Downloaded from ejt. Micropolitical connections overlap in contradictory ways because they are forged in part before subjects consciously recognize the identities toward which they pull. So. networks. Thus. This research might consider the complex and volatile emotions that mediate political relations among nations. such as the attack on Pearl Harbor.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. and other global bodies. memory has an iterative quality that ensures its persistent return (2003: 41).38 Conclusion Constructivists in IR have successfully installed the category of identity into the lexicon of IR scholarship. religious faith among American evangelicals could become appropriated by the Republican Party to support post-9/11 foreign policy. they are now in a promising position to examine the manifold channels through which identities are reproduced in global politics. and between sources of enthusiasm and their purported objects. A collective identity thus expresses not an aggregate of individuals but a block of affect cutting across multiply attached and continually adapting agents. long-term memories of historical events. do not exhibit the cognitive coherence of a role identity such as Wendt’s ‘enmity’. Practices of memorialization ensure that these memories are sustained among successive generations. become folded into responses to more recent events. the response to 9/11 points to the synthetic quality of affect — its capacity to combine already-existing affect with contemporary experi- ence. nonconscious dimensions of emotion present greater challenges. As Edkins demonstrates. But careful attention should be paid to the range of emotional expression. While feelings can perhaps be assimilated into intentionalist and dualist ontologies. Popular responses to a global event such as 9/11. but for each member these affects coexist with other affective circulations that connect her or him to additional constituencies.

more complex affective economy whose synthetic capacity accounts for the vitality and dynamism of global politics.40 Micropolitical activists might thereby cultivate affective identities without chauvinism. 4. Notes 1.sagepub.39 As Edkins suggests. An event such as 9/11 involves a broader. The unstable or fugitive quality of affect does. 2004). humiliation. This article would not have been possible without the generous contributions of a variety of friends and colleagues. and other all- too-familiar markers of exclusion. democratic plural- ism. It is tempting to conclude from the case of 9/11 that affective micropolitics has been more actively pursued by supporters of militarism and other actors on the political right. While advocates of liberal democracy may have thus far neglected the potential of affect (I believe they have). future IR research within and beyond constructivism might look for evidence of micropolitical practices amenable to critical engagement. For their careful readings of various versions of the article. after all. 215 Downloaded from ejt. I discuss in particular recent work by Edkins (2003. I am particularly grateful to: Mark Blyth. suggest that micropolitics may be implicated in social practices that are not strictly instrumental products of affective mobilization. See Massumi (2002: 1–21) and Latour (2003) for critiques of the aversion within a variety of constructivist literatures to emotions and other biological media. which I consider complementary to my own. 2000: 119). I would like to thank those who commented on a very early version of the article at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association in 2003. the trauma of 9/11 might be used to expose the ambiguity and instability of conventional identities and categories (2004: 255). in other words. patriotism. 3. Ross: Constructivism and Emotion identities.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. and ethical generosity. 2. Included here is the work cited above on trauma. as well as Campbell’s deconstructionist treatment of national identity (1998). There is good reason. and the editors and anonymous reviewers of the EJIR. 2016 . but an ‘implicit and undertheorized’ part (Crawford. and aesthetic imagery. Lars Toender. and at a meeting of the graduate student colloquium in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. The challenge for those committed to global ethics is to develop modes of expression that appropriate affective energies and apply them to projects and policies conducive to ethical generosity. both of which make important contributions to a non-intentionalist account of identity. Crawford argues that emotions are a part of IR theory. Quite rightly. to look for critical micropolitics beyond the official interventions of political elites on the left. In the final section of the article. Erin Rowe.

sagepub. see Damasio (2004). 2002: 51–78). Cannon also cited experimental evidence suggesting that different emotions appear in fact to involve the same physiological changes (Cannon. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) 5. compare also Crawford’s definition of emotion. 12. Mercer. that emotions must be either individual or collective. 9. see Sterling-Folker (2002). 2016 . 6. 1996). in his account. Only feelings. but scholars working in this area have nevertheless tended to regard norms as ideational phenomena that only sometimes spread through affective channels. On the presumed adequacy of self-reports. Connolly. For an account of these debates. In the IR literature. for each emotion. shared by IR and neighbouring disciplines. I resist a common assumption. 10. 1984: 146–7). 15.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. 64). who regards emotions as too individualized to play a role in post-conflict recovery (2004: 163). Many simply remain agnostic on the physiological status of emotions. For an analysis of the relationship between these perspectives and constructivist research. for example. see Chapter 3 of LeDoux (1996). 216 Downloaded from ejt. Seeking to refute James’s claim that. See also note 16 which follows. closely engaged with 19th-century psycholo- gies that used the German term ‘affekt’. Finnemore and Sikkink offer provocative sugges- tions on the role of emotions in international norm dynamics (1998: 916). 1962. calls ‘emotion’ (Massumi. 1990). there is nothing inherently individual about the body or its affects. who brackets off psychological and physiological responses (understood to be individual) to focus instead on the social context of emotion (2004: 475.g. in recent work by Pupavac. see Fierke (2004: 473–4). For a sympathetic discussion of Nussbaum’s view in IR. I hesitate to accept the distinction both theorists appear to make between social and individual dimensions of emotion. his work expresses assumptions in other constructivist scholar- ship (e. I distinguish between cognitive ‘feelings’ and corporeally mediated ‘emotions’ or ‘affects’. in an attempt to coordinate to conflicting ‘plans’ and ‘goals’ ‘sets the whole [cognitive] system into an organized emotion mode without propositional data having to be evaluated by a high-level conscious operating system’ (1987: 33). which is attentive to its multiple dimensions (2000: 125). Constructivists have asked how cognitive appraisals are shaped by prevailing social norms (Schachter and Singer. Although I focus later on Wendt as the primary exponent of orthodox constructivism. see LeDoux (1996: 52–3. This assumption is visible. 1995). are fully available to consciousness. in my view. Oatley and Johnson-Laird argue that an emotion. 11. Versions of this argument are offered by the realist literature cited earlier (Druckman. 1994. 1980) and how social and cultural discourses in turn represent emotions (Lutz and Abu-Lughod. and Fierke. 482). Averill. 14. 8. My use of ‘affect’ is roughly equivalent to what James. Drawing upon Damasio’s typology (2003: 43–6). 35. While I agree with much in this work. 7. 13. focusing only on discursive descriptions of emotion. there is a distinct physiological response. For a discussion of the Jamesian quality of recent research in neuroscience. 2002: 27–8. Katzenstein.

327. or institutions by reference to “brute” material forces — things which exist and have certain causal powers independent of ideas’ (1999: 94). Wendt uses ‘desire’ interchangeably with ‘interest’ and ‘belief’ with ‘ideas’ and ‘expectations’ (1999: 115). LeDoux focuses on the role of the amygdala. 28. 18. not just a behavioral one’ (1992: 399). This artificial construct of the brain allows emotions to be felt without visceral responses. Damasio argues that even contemporary scientific methods are unable to capture the diversity James had identified (2004: 10). ‘role’. a small organ of the brain that functions outside conscious awareness (LeDoux. see Berger and Luckmann (1967: 77. and ‘collective’ identities (Wendt. For Wendt. 138). He writes: ‘What makes a theory materialist is that it accounts for the effects of power. 21. constituted prior to interaction (Zehfuss. 303). 20.sagepub. 2000). These are ‘personal’. While many radical constructivists reject the very terms of this debate (Campbell. For example. that all emotions triggered a singular nervous response system and that individual differences may be ignored as ‘minor variations’ to the rule (1984: 146). 27. 1999: 224–30). 224. For an interactionist discussion of the affective dimension of roles and socialization. Doty. few have explored the ways in which material forces are involved in social life. This connection is more clear in an earlier article. Critics have argued that Wendt treats ‘personal’ identities (that which constitutes a being as a distinct entity) as pre-social formations. 2016 . Cannon thinks. 1996: 170). 23. Ross: Constructivism and Emotion 16. a critique of Waltz on this point seems naturally to demand consideration of cognitive beliefs. and he offers no account of how the events and memories of everyday life induce specific affects. in historical circumstances such as Germany under National Socialism or Cambodia under Pol Pot. A perception of an emotion-inducing object bypasses the body itself and is shunted through an alternative neural process — what Damasio calls the ‘“as if” body loop’ (1994: 156). interests. 2002: 45). LeDoux offers a comparable account of the brain’s ability to modify its responses through learned associations (1996: 265. 131. But for him these ‘sick cultures’ are only pathological aberrations. Damasio thinks the majority of our emotional responses operate in this manner. where Wendt writes: ‘Socialization is a cognitive process. Wilmer emphasizes the role of emotions but presumes that emotional dimensions of identity possess a cognitive content (in this case. Debates over Wendt’s soft constructivism have frequently gravitated toward this image of materiality (Krasner. 17. 2001. In places. 2000). James argues that each emotion corresponds to a distinct set of bodily responses.com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. 333). 25. 24. 19. Mead’s interactionism seems to have a bias toward the cognitive appraisal of social values and norms as ‘roles’ (1934: 173). 232. ‘type’. 29. 22. Compare also Wendt (1999: 101. 217 Downloaded from ejt. on the contrary. Damasio argues that. 26. members of a community may develop an affective tolerance for witnessing or participating in violence (1994: 179).

She argues that. 30. 31. trauma contributes to renegotiations of identity only under specific circumstances. European Journal of International Relations 12(2) consisting of basic self–other distinctions) available to elites (Wilmer. On the role of aesthetic and other visual experience in stimulating responses to 9/11. In my account. and Weber (2003).com by Alexander Rusero on April 27. 38. For an account of these fugitive crossings. Retrospectively. narrative museums. As Edkins scrupulously shows. see: Bleiker (2006). Edkins takes the absence of intentionality as grounds for viewing trauma as beyond experience — ‘Trauma is not experienced as such — as an experience — when it occurs’ (39). In this view. see Zehfuss (2003: 518–22). This formulation avoids the — in my view. For a discussion of the tensions and inconsistencies in political appropriations of identity following 9/11. This affective climate presumably played a role in the relative absence of opposition to war even among Democrats and intellectuals on the left (Balz. O ´ Tuathail (2003). 36. In my view. 84–91. 2003: 868). Connor assumes that specific types of cognitive content are likely to have a disproportionately emotional effect (1994: 202) and does not ask how certain kinds of expression and certain contexts of receptivity generate emotional responses. Affectivity sheds light on how symbols come to be connected to their objects. 2002: 248–9. Enloe. He argues that the Republican Party has attracted the support of evangelical Christians because of ‘affinities of sensibility’ that connect these groups even in the absence of a shared ideology (2005: 871. 878). 34. 187). while some memorials allow for popular adaptation of official sites (2003: 67–72. such as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. My intention is not to suggest that affect should replace the analysis of discursive symbols. some layers involving intentionality and some not. 2001). 32. it is possible in principle to specify what bodily practices induce and sustain the experience of trauma. 35. ‘experience’ is understood as multiply layered. awkward — claim that trauma is not experienced and accepts the task of investigating the micropolitical practices that comprise that experience.sagepub. My position differs from O ´ Tuathail’s in that he seems ultimately to view affect as a kind of political pathology afflicting the political right rather than a normal dimension of political agency (860–4). O´ Tuathail captures these exchanges in his account of revenge as part of an ‘affective economy’ that mobilized support for the war in Iraq (O ´ Tuathail. 218 Downloaded from ejt. 108). 1989). impair the process of memory by providing narratives that construct a stable identity for the sovereign state (2003: 155). 1987. In the same vein. we can say that a symbol resembles its object. the emotional processes involved in events such as these are not exclusively those deliberately generated by elites and other actors. 2016 . 37. 33. but tracing movements of affect allows us to track symbolic connections before they are fully formed as resemblances. see Connolly (2005). feminist theorists in IR have suggested that gendered symbols often resonate with militarism and statecraft (Cohn.

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