Skip to main content

Cultural Theory as Mood Work

Pedwell, Carolyn (2014) Cultural Theory as Mood Work. New Formations, (82). pp. 47-63. ISSN 0950-2378. (doi:10.3898/NEWF.82.03.2014) (KAR id:42880)


In staging an encounter between Sedgwick's discussion of reparation, Spivak's analysis of translation, and critical scholarship on mood, this essay considers how we might understand contemporary cultural theory as a form of 'mood work' that is at once discursive and material, textual and affective, political and aesthetic. In particular, I am interested in how thinking reparation, translation and mood together might open up different ways of conceptualising and negotiating the affective 'double binds' central to both critical thought and socio-political relations at the current conjuncture. As Sedgwick and Spivak each show us, I will argue, tarrying with contradiction and ambivalence is the mood work that cultural theory must continue to pursue, both in order to understand the material implications of our own emotional investments in intellectual production and to appreciate the complex ways in which power operates within the structures of feeling of late liberalism.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3898/NEWF.82.03.2014
Additional information: This is an article in a special issue of New Formations called 'Mood Work'.
Uncontrolled keywords: double bind mood paranoia reparation translation
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Carolyn Pedwell
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2014 10:43 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 12:55 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.