authoring and facilitating affect. the philosophical novel as a liberating form of affective labour

natalie fletcher

Abstract


This article focuses on the notion of affectivity, which over the last few decades has become an increasingly popular lens through which to study various themes in the humanities and social sciences, notably with respect to labour. The notion of “affective labour” has been deemed to encompass both work that requires emotional investment and work that is intended to produce emotional responses yet explorations of such work, though varied in schope, have generally not widened their breadth to include the field of education, inviting the question: Can educators and their pedagogical outputs be analyzed through the same affective lens used to study other professions? The Philosophy for Children (P4C) program created by Matthew Lipman and Ann Sharp represents an interesting case study of education as affective labour since it involves not only live educative encounters with groups of children but also virtual ones portrayed through its curriculum of philosophical novels. This article positions the Lipmanian philosophical novel as a form of affective labour both in process (the author’s experience—work that requires affective investment) and in delivery (the children’s experience—work that produces affective response). Drawing on the ideas of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, it seeks to demonstrate how the philosophical novel captures the liberating potential of affective labour—relational autonomy within a strong community—while avoiding its negative outcomes of exploitation and alienation. In doing so, it strives to articulate what the philosophical novel has already enabled and what it should aim to make possible in its future renditions. The article begins with a brief account of affective labour as an opportunity amidst risk then proceeds to examine the philosophical novel as a writing endeavour that “authors” affect and subsequently “facilitates” affect among children engaged in collaborative dialogue.

Keywords


childhood; Lipman; affect

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childhood & philosophy Creative Commons License
e-issn 1984-5987 | p-issn 2525-5061