affect and being affected

It took me a longer time than expected to decide myself publish my DPhil findings, advances and insights. Not least because I was working hard on finding the path that my research will take; but most of all, the delay in publishing anything was for two reasons:

(1) Talking/writing about affects requires a deep -albeit brief- connection with the person with whom you are talking to. To gain peoples’ trust, I kept the stories they told me out of sight of anyone. I decided just to publish them until I were able to consolidate them into a distilled and mediated story-essence, which fades away private information. I delayed this to protect the people who gently shared their emotions about feeling themselves different, unequal, discriminated against, infuriated, lost or hopeful.

(2) Being ready to publish my insights, required me to create a safe place for myself, in which I felt confident of what I want to say and how I want to say it. Talking and writing about affect and its relationship with very intimate processes happening in cities have been challenging tasks for me and my English-language skills. Considering that I am still processing all the stories and information gathered during fieldwork, putting my thoughts into words produced in me a significant amount of anxiety and relief. These are the two sides of how my own affective relationship with this research which is based on affectivity is unravelling.

This last point is the basic definition of affect, the capacity of affect and being affected (Spinoza and then following that notion Deleuze, Massumi, Stewart, Berlant amongst many others)

Affect can be understood using many different frameworks and accounts. However, If I could write this as simple as I am able to, I would say that affect can be understood as the impact that the environment has in us (This notion is from Lauren Berlant), and at the same time, the reciprocal communication of my influence in the world.

Every story shared with me, impacted me.

I never felt myself up to par with the reality I was trying to portray. This is the safe space of which I was writing about. A space to gain the confidence to portray something, even when that something can surpass my writing in every single account.