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Title: Feeling American : spatialising emotion, embodiment and affective atmospheres in the emergence of everyday national identities
Authors: Dreblow, Hannah Truus
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Studies on nationalism have recently seen a critical engagement with the flesh, the emotional and the affective. This more-than-representational approach has shifted thought towards real, lived experiences within the everyday, conceptualising national identities as processual and emergent through encounters and performances. This thesis develops ideas of emotional nationalisms and affective atmospheres, whilst showing how young people's bodies negotiate national identities. It pulls together work on young people's geopolitics, with wider discourses on belonging to the nation, and calls for more embodied understandings of national identities. This thesis draws on 11 months of ethnographic research in Bellingham, WA, USA. During this time I volunteered at a church youth group in the area. The research draws from 21 interviews and 2 small group discussions with students, aged 16-18, alongside auto-ethnographic research diary excerpts made during the research process. There are three ways that this thesis contributes to this emerging body of work on the more-than-representational nation. Firstly, it considers the emotionally subjective nature of national identities, thinking carefully about how feelings of belonging and connection are developed and shift as bodies grow, move and embody space. Secondly, I argue that national identities are fleshy and come into being through their embodiment and performance as bodies take-on, re-shape and make-tangible their feelings of belonging and connection to nations. I disrupt normative and taken-forgranted notions of national identities by demonstrating the ways in which national identities can be interrupted and re-shaped by bodies and through atmospheres. Finally I consider the spatiality of national identities, thinking through how scales intersect and work together to shape one another, affecting how national identities are felt and come into being. This thesis shows how messy, diffuse and intimate national identities are, pointing to the need to think more carefully about their emotionally subjective nature and their emergence within and through affective atmospheres
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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