Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2015


The “affective turn” presents a number of important challenges to law and the humanities. One such challenge concerns our ability to resist the temptation to romanticize the inhuman. Theorists from Nietzsche to Massumi have been so taken by the emancipatory promise of affective intensity that they risk relinquishing responsibility for freedom’s necessary social, political, and legal pre-conditions. Our responsibility for narrative construction and narrative choice carries with it an ethical imperative to understand the orchestration of affect. Downplaying the importance of reflective consciousness (including our capacity for prudent judgment) in favor of spontaneous affective events threatens to rob freedom of its meaning and open democratic societies to grave risks.