New Book is Out!

I’m late in announcing this, but my latest book, Affective Labour: (Dis)Assembling Distance and Difference (with Jennifer G. Correa) is now available as a hardback, paperback, and e-book. If you buy directly from Rowman and Littlefield, you can use the following promotional code and save 30%: RLI093

Below are some of the reviews:

Thomas and Correa offer an important empirical study of affective labor’s central role in sustaining two pillars of inequality: racial difference and socio-spatial distance. Noteworthy for its comparative and relational approaches, Affective Labour reveals the entwinements between racism and affect in everyday practices and places.
Paula Ioanide, Associate Professor of Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies, Ithaca College

In this theoretically groundbreaking yet remarkably accessible book, Thomas and Correa establish a strong case for why affect should matter to scholars of race and racism, as well as to activists working for social justice. Affective Labour describes the painstaking work of identification, the crafting of difference, and the production of social distance, in effect asking how forms of violence and exclusion become imaginable or unimaginable. The book takes the reader on an intellectual journey from a college-town bar scene to the US-Mexico border, through the contemporary diversity regimes of predominantly white institutions. The authors then bring the lessons from these case studies to bear on the emergent affective politics of Black Lives Matter and similar radical democratic social movements. In spite of the grimly neoliberal landscapes of difference and inequality it explores, Affective Labour remains optimistic in its evocation of coming into being and the potential for an affect of liberation in progressive politics. ​
Rebecca R. Scott, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Missouri-Columbia

Bringing together critical social, cultural and political analysis, phenomenology and original ethnographic research, this book is a must read for anyone interested in the politics of affect. Thomas and Correa provide an imaginative and incisive account of how the manufacturing of gendered, racialised, sexualised, and classed relations of distance and difference is a matter of affective labour. Through a diverse range of in depth examples – from American nightlife cultures, to University diversity-initiatives, to the #BlackLivesMatter movement – the book offers a refreshing and distinctive examination of the affective work of everyday life and its wider critical implications. The analysis offered is at once productively troubling and optimistic: Contemporary forms of affective labour frequently work to reproduce relations of domination, but they also fuel solidarity, resistance and ‘a sense of hope for what can be, despite the reality of what is’.
Carolyn Pedwell, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies/Cultural Sociology, University of Kent

Thomas and Correa’s expansive research into distance and difference takes us on an immersive journey into configurations of affective subjectivity – from above and below. Carefully crafted case studies of urban nightlife in Columbia, Missouri, ‘War on Terror’ at the US-Mexico border, diversity regimes in higher education, and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, underline why affect should be of critical concern to social, cultural and political theorists. Affective Labour is an original and timely contribution that will have implications for how we approach the politics of difference in the classroom, the polity and on the street.
Christopher Kyriakides, Associate Professor of Sociology, York University, Canada


Working to Laugh, in a Bookstore Near You!

My book is out! It’s available on, or directly through the Rowman and Littlefield website. If you buy from Rowman and Littlefield, use the promo code “LEX30AUTH15” for a 30% discount.

If you’re unsure about ordering a personal copy, be a good colleague and ask your library to order one!

Working to Laugh (2015)

Thomas, James M. Working to Laugh: Assembling Difference in American Stand-Up Comedy Venues (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015)

Laugh Through It: Assembling Difference in an American Stand-Up Comedy Club

Check out my newest article, ‘Laugh Through it,’ available online first through the journal, Ethnography


Through an examination of a Midwestern professional comedy club, this article theorizes stand-up comedy as part of the broader affective-cultural assemblage that is nightlife entertainment. Using the Deleuzian notion of assemblage, this analysis builds on poststructural accounts of the dynamic and transient properties of culture, and the relationship between space, culture, and affect. As a specific affective-cultural assemblage, stand-up comedy operates as both constrainer and enabler of racial and heteronormative order through the bringing together of a variety of diverse logics and practices. I argue that stand-up comedy should no longer be thought of strictly in discursive or symbolic-interactionist terms that over-determine the roles of particular agents (i.e. comics). Instead, when described as emergent, transient, and fundamentally affective, stand-up comedy and other cultural forms can be seen for their openness and multiplicity, both contributing to racial and heteronormative order as well as upending it.

Affect and the Sociology of Race: A Program for Critical Inquiry

(now available online at Ethnicities)


Theorizing the centrality of race remains a key issue within the social sciences. However, an examination of four programs that dominate critical inquiry, particularly in the US context – Racial Formation Theory; Systemic Racism; Color-Blind Racism; and Critical Race Theory – reveal two key problems: a reductivist account of the role of culture in the production of race and racism and the essentializing of the political identity of racial Others. This article, then, considers a different paradigm for the study of race – an affective program. Two components of an affective program identified in this article are: (a) a more dynamic account of culture, opening up the realm of the discursive to more than just signification and representation, but also expression; and (b) locating the possibilities of racial politics as matters of racialized and anti-racist practices rather than matters of racial identity.

On Affective Labor in Adult, Urban Playscapes

(Excerpt from work in progress entitled, “Affective Labor in Adult, Urban ‘Playscapes’: An Ethnographic Account”)


The study of nightlife has been of great interest in contemporary urban sociology (Bernstein 2001; Chatterton and Hollands 2003; Chauncey 1994; Grazian 2007; Grazian 2008; Grazian 2009; Oldenburg 1989). Within the existing literature, there appears an emergent debate among scholars, where nightlife spaces are either depicted as third-spaces critical for the sustainment of civic engagement and participatory democracy (e.g. Oldenburg 1989; Putnam 2000), or as spaces that have historically reconstituted micro-formations of more macro-social inequalities, including heteronormativity and racial rule (e.g. Grazian 2007; 2008; 2009; Bernstein 2001; Owens 2003).

Empirically speaking, I believe that both sides of this debate are correct in their own right. However, neither position moves us toward a more useful, or plausible, theory on the role these ‘pleasure spaces’ play in the reproduction of social order. Nightlife in both accounts is reduced to ‘good spaces’ or ‘bad spaces’ for what they contribute to participatory democracy (see Putnam 2000); or what they contribute to hegemonic masculinity (see Grazian 2007). What we currently lack in the sociological study of nightlife, however, is a descriptive theory of that which is fundamental to its very constitution: desire. From Marx and Freud, to derivatives and critiques of historical materialism and psychoanalysis (e.g. Althusser, Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, postcolonial studies, etc.), desire has been of central importance to the production of critical theory.

Among contemporary scholars, particularly within human and cultural geography, the concept of desire has garnered a great deal of empirical attention (e.g. Anderson 2006; Thrift 2008). How national heritage sites, for example, come to be embedded with particular social relations centered on the production of desire for certain bodies over others (Crang and Tolia-Kelly 2010); or how particular spaces inhabited by ethnic and racial minorities become territorialized by figures of authority as well as those of the oppressed through physical and symbolic bordering of those spaces (e.g. Nayak 2010). Still others, like Nigel Thrift, view the entire project of urbanization as one of manufacturing and distributing desire, through a network of affective pipes and cables no different in their intent than those that deliver water, gas, and electricity to shops, homes, and neighborhoods (see Thrift 2008).

That pleasure spaces, like nightclubs, cocktail lounges, and restaurants, rely on the physical attractiveness and display of sexuality among female service staff to recruit customers (Grazian 2009); that female service staff in these establishments are expected to perform a certain type of gender, entailing the wearing of tight and revealing clothing (Spradley and Mann 1975); and that these women are expected to handle subsequent sexual harassment from male customers graciously and with flirty come-ons (Grazian 2009; Steinem 1983) suggest that the degree to which desire (heterosexual, in these instances) is controlled and managed is worthy of ethnographic analysis.

Pleasure spaces within urban nightlife center on enabling elite, White, heterosexual men to experience the full production of entertainment while simultaneously restricting access the active movement of racial, sexual, and classed Others. This  demonstrates that desire is a constituting and active force in the ongoing production of the urban nightlife experience. This is an important point to consider: desire as I use it here, does not refer to the traditional psychoanalytic account of a lack, or yearning for something. Rather, desire as it is used in this context derives from Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) writings. Desire is an active, positive force in the context of urban nightlife and pleasure spaces (see Haggerty et al., 2000). The desire for control, the desire for profit, and the desire for entertainment produce difference/sameness, and distance/closeness among and between social actors within these ‘playscapes’ (e.g. Chatterton and Hollands, 2003; Deleuze and Guattari, 1987).

Drawing upon thirteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, including participant observation, at a stand-up comedy club and nightclub in a medium-sized, midwestern city, this article aims to describe the production of desire, as an active and constituting force, through the concept of affective labor – the immaterial and corporeal manipulation of affects that produces feelings of ease, well-being, satisfaction, excitement, passion, and even a sense of connectedness or community (Hardt 1999: 96; see also Negri 1999; Hardt and Negri 2001). Such an account seeks to move beyond the theorizing of urban nightlife as ‘good space’ or ‘bad space’, and also seeks to provide a more robust analysis for how power, agency, and space become intertwined with one another in ways that are both enabling and constraining of existing social arrangements (see Crossley 1996). The production of desire is accomplished through forms of affective labor that are fundamentally grounded in the reproduction and reconstitution of racial rule, elite class status, and heteronormativity.


Urban nightlife, including what I refer to as ‘pleasure spaces’ in this article, constitute a site of contemporary capitalism that is unique because of its lack of material product relative to its immaterial product. In sites like bars, nightclubs, comedy clubs, and other nightlife hangout spots, no durable or material good is produced. The experiences received from visiting these establishments are accomplished not through simple transactions between the customer and service staff. Rather, what is being bought is the experience of sociability (see Chatterton and Hollands, 2003). Also bound up in the experience of sociability, however, is the qualitative production of intersubjective relations. This production is accomplished through both the manufacturing of the sensorium within nightlife spaces themselves, and the interactive patterns that follow from this governing of spatial-sensual properties. This manufacturing is a matter of affective labor, a form of immaterial labor that, through the manipulation of affects, produces the very things social actors most closely associate with the urban nightlife experience: pleasure, excitement, connectedness, and satisfaction, to name but a few (Bernstein, 2001; Malbon, 1999; Thorton, 1996).

Maurizio Lazzarato (1996: 133) defines immaterial labor as “the labor that produces the informational and cultural content of the commodity.” Considering the informational content of the commodity, Lazzarato states that immaterial labor describes the large-scale changes in industry, “where skills involved in direct labor are increasingly skills involving cybernetics and computer control,” (1996: 133). Considering the cultural content of the commodity, however, immaterial labor refers to the types of activities involved in constructing and maintaining cultural and artistic norms, trends, tastes, and even public opinion. This cultural form of labor that aids in the formation of the commodity, including its value, is not typically recognized by work (Lazzarato, 1996: 134).

On their own or in conjunction, these forms of immaterial labor first and foremost produce a social relation. The raw material of immaterial labor is both subjectivity and the ideological environment in which this subjectivity resides and reproduces itself. No longer exclusive to the realm of disciplining societies, the production of subjectivity is productive itself, constructing the consumer as ‘active’ (Lazzarato, 1996: 141). Immaterial labor simultaneously satisfies the consumer’s demand as well as establishes that demand.

Michael Hardt (1999) elaborates on Lazzarato’s concept of immaterial labor, identifying its formation as bound up in the shifting global economy from industry to service jobs in the 1970s. This informatization of the global economy, particularly in the U.S. but also abroad, entailed a change in the quality of labor as well as the nature of the labor process (Hardt 1999: 93). The result was the production and reliance upon immaterial labor in order to serve the purposes of this new informational economy. Whereas in industry, labor aimed to produce tangible goods, and could be easily quantifiable through the mechanisms of capitalism, in the current informational economy, immaterial labor produces no material or durable goods. Rather, immaterial labor produces immaterial goods, like service, knowledge, or communication (Hardt 1999: 94).

Extending Lazzarato’s thesis, Hardt (1999) describes three forms of immaterial labor that drive the informational economy, as well as the informationalization of the global economy. The first form of immaterial labor entails the folding of communicative technologies into global industrial production. With this form of immaterial labor, the production of tangible items becomes wedded to the production of ‘service.’ For Hardt, the transition in the automotive industry from Fordism to Toyotism exemplifies this form of immaterial labor. Disrupting Habermas’s (1984) division between instrumental and communicative action by theorizing them to be interwoven in the informationalized industrial process, the folding of communicative technologies into the industrial production process also troubles the temporal divide of labor, work, and action described by Hannah Arendt (1958).

The second form of immaterial labor, entailing analytic and symbolic tasks, is closely related to the enfolding of communicative technologies into the global production process. For Hardt (1999: 94), the increasing reliance upon computers in the global economy has redefined laboring practices and relations. Communicative technologies, including computers, are now used for ‘symbolic-analytical services’, or tasks that entail “problem-solving, problem-identifying, and strategic brokering services,” (Reich 1991: 177; Hardt 1999: 95). For Hardt, “Interactive and cybernetic machines become a new prosthesis integrated into our bodies and minds and a lens through which to redefine our bodies and minds themselves,” (1999: 95).

Finally, the last form of immaterial labor, and the one I am concerned with in this manuscript, is affective labor. Affective labor, or the production and manipulation of affects, fundamentally requires human contact, making it distinct from the previous two forms of immaterial labor. This contact, however, can be either actual or virtual. Hardt uses the example of the entertainment industry: “the human contact, the presence of others, is principally virtual, but not for that reason any less real,” (1999: 96).

In the production and manipulation of affects, what is produced are collective subjectivities and sociality. That these collective subjectivities and sociality are exploited directly by capital does not make this production and manipulation of affects any less actual. Like Lazzarato (1996), Hardt (1999) argues that the production of collective subjectivities and sociality through affective labor is productive itself, producing the very demand for these things in the first place.

Since Hardt’s (1999) outline for a theory of affective labor, a number of issues have emerged concerning its practical and theoretical basis. Among cultural Marxists, one debate centers on whether or not the value of affective labor can be measured (Caffentzsis, 2005; Clough et al., 2007; Virtanen, 2004). Still, others have looked to distinguish how the production of people, including relationships between people, is qualitatively different from the production of things (Weeks 2007; Rose 2004). While these debates are important, I do not want the discussion of affective labor to get sidetracked into meta-theoretical conversations that would distract us from examining how affective labor relates to the production of spaces and forms of entertainment within the urban nightlife scene.

However, I do want to briefly distinguish affective labor with what is no doubt a more recognizable concept in the sociological enterprise: Arlie Hochschild’s (1983) emotional labor. For Hochschild (1983: 7), emotional labor “requires one to induce or suppress feelings in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others.” Affective labor, however, differs in that feelings, or states of mind, do not belong to one or the other. Rather, these things are in constant circulation. Affective labor is not so much about producing a state of mind in another, or a manipulation of your own feelings, as it is about producing a relationship between social actors and contexts (Weeks, 2007: 238-39). This relationship is affective in that it resides in the bodies’ changing capacities to affect and be affected by others (Weeks, 2007; Clough 2007)…

On Non-Representational Theory and Inquiry

[Introduction to From Non-Representational Theory to Non-Representational Analysis, currently under review]

Epistemology: A theory of knowledge
Method: A technique for gathering evidence.
Methodology: A theory and analysis of how research does or should proceed.1

The ‘cultural turn,’ brought on in part through the identity-politics movements of the 1960s and scholars’ renewed interest in meaning and culture rather than political and economic institutions, had an enormous impact on how social scientists have approached the empirical worlds they study. The shift toward interpretivism and the focus on how social actors make meaning out of their everyday life became the basis for newly emergent approaches to studying nebulous concepts as ‘culture’ and ‘social’.2 A shift occurred in qualitative methodology from conceptualizing the object of study as a ‘there’ to which the researcher traveled in order to understand meaning, to a more reflective lens in which ‘there’ became a matter of critical interrogation.3

Currently we are witnessing yet another shift in qualitative methodology, brought on in part through the ‘affective turn’, and in response to the crisis of representation which plagued cultural studies and the social sciences in the latter decades of the 20th century.4 This shift, and the reorienting of empirical investigation toward the capacity of the body to affect and be affected by others, constitutes a new methodology for generating a literal and metaphorical body of knowledge. If one of the central questions coming out of the cultural turn was one of representation, or how to represent the various identities pushing for political and cultural recognition, then the new question is how to ‘more-than-represent’.5

In partial response to the deadening effect of cultural studies identified by cultural and human geographers, as well as the assertion that a critical scholarship should do more than just critique, but should fundamentally illuminate the process of emergence, Non-Representational Theory (NRT) was seen as reconnecting social inquiry back with actual materiality as it unfolds.6 The objective of NRT is to shift investigative focus away from analysis which divides the world into ‘reality’ and ‘reality-making, and instead emphasize the transient, immanent qualities of everyday life which, in their ongoing emergence, constitute not just life as we know it but also life as it could be.7 One effect of this movement is that analytic interest is turned toward practice as it is embodied, or those ways in which the body comes to know and generate knowledge about itself and others through movement between and among other bodies. The study of the body is not simply an investigation of how the body came to be what it is – it is an investigation of what the body is capable of producing within a given socio-cultural-political context.

No longer is social-science epistemology a question of sensory observation or interpretative practice; it is now also a matter of immanence and embodiment.8 The emergent field of Critical Affect Studies (CAS), deeply influential to at least a portion of NRT scholars, certainly borrows from the biological sciences, but does so in a manner that refuses to freeze the body as a fixed entity.9 Rather, biology becomes potentiality, or in-excess, as the body is articulated as always extending itself through practices of becoming. CAS to date does not shun discursive methods of critical praxis.10 Rather, CAS brackets the question of what does affect mean in favor of the question, what is affect doing? However, to date CAS finds itself in the somewhat indefensible position of arguing for an analytic attention to immanence and embodiment in social and cultural life, but yet left with methodologies which, rather than describe movement in the moment, instead inscribe those very movements as moments. This continues to be the rub of cultural analysis: we seek to capture the liveliness of culture through methods which compromise the very things which make culture an ongoing process.

Traditional qualitative techniques – here I’m thinking of ethnography and the qualitative interview – encounter two major methodological problems. First, they reify a disembodied form of knowledge production because they reject the occurrences on and between bodies in favor of indexing bodily arrangements for cognitive forms of academic mapping; and second, they neglect the most fundamental effect of affect’s movements: these movements produce. They produce the social, the cultural, and even subjectivity in their movement, not in their definitions.11 Thus it is a shift in methodological focus that I advocate here, from concerning ourselves with operational definitions of what constitutes a body of knowledge, to a concern for actual operations.

Central to the project of both NRT and CAS is how the turn toward affect allows for methodology to open itself up to investigations of immanence and potentiality.12 By blurring temporal distinctions between past, present, and future through embodied habits and relationalities, the analyst can participate in empirical speculation without fear of abandoning a pursuit of valued knowledge.13 The body is no longer a fixed entity, and more than simply a discursive representation. The body is a biological and cultural potential. It is the literal and figurative embodiment of virtuality: a product of fluid, continuous processes from which the social and cultural is formed.14 It is a linkage between past-present-future that is continuous and non-linear in its movement between those spaces. Potentiality, then, is the new empirical material toward which critical studies should turn.

In what follows, I first briefly sketch the emergent field of CAS, which has centered not only the body as an epistemological site of inquiry, but also specifically embodied practices.15 The attention toward embodied practices marks the first transition toward a methodology in which the purpose is to understand what those practices produce both in the moment in which they occur, as well as over time. Next, I turn toward my own ethnographic research on a drag revue to demonstrate how employing a non-representational analysis allows for the researcher to emphasize how bodies become affectually charged within particular cultural spaces, and how social actors respond to competing intensities of affects as they occur. Finally, I demonstrate how NRT provides a blueprint for a new epistemology both independent of and also emergent from its positivist and interpretivist predecessors.16

In doing so, I demonstrate the practical usage of NRT in ethnographic fieldwork, something that its proponents have failed to completely accomplish.17 To date, investigations of affect in critical theory by and large have been discursive analyses of text, reifying the ‘deadening effect’ of cultural studies against which NRT proponents rage.18 Focusing on the embodied practices and their immanent potential, this article accomplishes what those before it have failed to do: to generate a critical methodology of affect that attends to the practices of the body as the focus of social scientific investigation.19

1This is a paraphrasing of the concise differentiation found in Sandra Harding’s, “Is There a Feminist Method”, in Sandra Harding (1987). Feminism and Methodology: Social Science Issues. Indiana University Press, p.3.

2Chris Roject and Bryan Turner, 2000. “Decorative Sociology: Toward a critique of the Cultural Turn”, in The Sociological Review, 48(4), 629-648.

3Jaber Gubrium and James Holstein, 1997. The New Language of Qualitative Method. Oxford University Press.

4Patricia Clough, ed. 2007. The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social. Duke University Press.

5For a debate about the use of ‘more than representational’ or ‘non-representational’ to describe this new branch of theorizing, see Hayden Lorimer, 2005. “Cultural Geography: The Busyness of Being ‘More-Than Representational’,” Progress in Human Geography, 29(1), 83-94.

6Hayden Lorimer, 2005. “Cultural Geography: The Busyness of Being ‘More-Than Representational’,” Progress in Human Geography, 29(1), 83-94; also Ben Anderson and Paul Harrison, editors, 2010. Taking-Place: Non-Representational Theories and Geography, Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

7Thrift, 2008. Also Anderson and Harrison, 2010.

8Gerda Roelvink, 2009. “Collective Action and the Politics of Affect.” Emotion, Space, and Society, 3(2), 111-118. See also Ben Anderson, 2006.

9For the use of Critical Affect Studies to define a small, but influential, body of scholarship, see Jenny Edbauer Rice, 2008. “The New ‘New’: Making a case for critical affect studies.” Quarterly Journal of Speech, 94(2), 200-212. For examples of CAS borrowing both concepts and case studies from the biological sciences, see Teresa Brennan, 2004. The Transmission of Affect. Cornell University Press; also see Brian Massumi, 2002. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Duke University Press. Consequently, it should be noted that some very heavy-handed critiques have been laid upon these works for the selective borrowing of particular experimental designs that, to date, have been shown to be quite problematic. For examples of these critiques, see Constantina Papoulias and Felicity Callard, 2010. “Biology’s Gift: Interrogating the turn to affect.” Body and Society, 16(1), 29-56. Also see Ruth Leys, 2011. “The Turn to Affect: A Critique.” Critical Inquiry, 37(3), 434-472.

10For examples of discursive analyses of affect, see Ann Cvetkovich, 1992. Mixed Feelings: Feminism, Mass Culture, and Victorian Sensationalism, Rutgers University Press; and Eve Sedgewick, 2002. Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity, Duke University Press.

11Bruno Latour, 2004. “How to Talk About the Body? The normative dimensions of science studies.” Body and Society, 10(2/3), 205-230. Also see Lisa Blackman, 2008. “Affect, Relationality, and the Problem of Personality.” Theory, Culture, and Society, 25(1), 27-51.

12Jenny Edbauer Rice, 2008.

13See Ben Anderson, 2006.

14Giles Deleuze, 1994. Difference and Repetition, London, UK: Athlone; also see Ian Tucker, 2011. “Sense and the Limits of Knowledge: Bodily connections in the work of Serres.” Theory, Culture, and Society, 28(1), 149-160.

15For instance, see Nigel Thrift, 2008. Non-Representational Theory: Sapce, Politics, Affect, Routledge.

16For a similar attempt, though outside of non-representational theory, see Patricia Clough, 2009. “The New Empiricism: Affect and the Sociological Method.” European Journal of Social Theory, 12(1), 43-61.

17Though perhaps its greatest theoretical contributor to date, Nigel Thrift’s outline of NRT in both Non-Representational Theory and “Intensities of Feeling: Towards a Spatial Politics of Affect” (2004: Geografsika Annaler, 86B, 57-58) does not contain even a generic script for how NRT should proceed in fieldwork. Similarly, there are a number of unique and important empirial and theoretical contributions in the edited volume by Ben Anderson and Paul Harrison, Taking-Place. Yet, the contributors to this volume, including the editors, offer us the end-goal of NRT without the map of how they arrived there.

18See Nigel Thrift and John-David Dewsbury, 2000. “Dead Geographies – and How to Make Them Live.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 18(4), 411-432. It should also be noted that Lawrence Grossberg has spent the past three decades, with some success, attempting to move cultural studies in the direction that Thrift and Dewsbury argue it must proceed.

19The avoidance of a definitional debate deserves clarification. The debate about what affect is certainly has merit – any debate over a concept in the social sciences has the effect of demonstrating its utility or its ineffectivity. However, this debate has been hashed out several times over, in various outlets, conferences, and seminars. Further, asking what affect is reifies that it is something concrete, fixed, and able to be represented; and ignores the more urgent question, of what is affect doing.