Exhausting Affects: the Negotiation of Affective Labour, Neoliberal Subjectivity, and Feminist Politics Among Anti-Violence Workers

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Runyon, Roxanne Loree
Anti-Violence Work , Affective Labour , Neoliberalism , Affect
This thesis explores the affective and political life of anti-violence labour, with particular attention to the ways that neoliberalism comes to bear on subjectivity, embodiment, and relationality among women responding to violence. In fall of 2015, I conducted qualitative interviews with six women engaged in the work of responding to violence. The participants in this project articulated rich descriptions of the affective life of neoliberalism and the demands of neoliberal subjectivity, drawing particular attention to the affective labour involved in navigating the political complexities of anti-violence organizations, negotiating burnout, and affectively self-managing in order to meet norms of professionalism. Bringing participant narratives into conversations with feminist theories of affect, I argue for an account affective labour that centers the specific, materially embodied experiences of that work and for an account of neoliberalism as a system of embodied and affective pressures.
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