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Affinities: Potent Connections in Personal Life

Affinities: Potent Connections in Personal Life

Jennifer Mason

ISBN: 978-0-745-66463-7

Jan 2018, Polity

256 pages

In Stock



How is it possible to feel an affinity with a place? What is happening when someone feels almost literally transported to another time by a smell or a texture or a song? Why do striking family resemblances sometimes feel uncanny? In each of these cases a potent connection is being made, involving forces, flows, energies and atmospherics that conventional sociological approaches can find hard to grasp, but that are important nonetheless. 

In this innovative book Jennifer Mason argues that these are affinities – potent charges and charismatically lively connections in personal life, that rise up and matter in some way and that enchant or toxify the everyday. She suggests that exploring affinities opens up new possibilities for conceptualizing the experience of living in the world through what she calls the 'socio-atmospherics of everyday life'. This book invites the reader to embrace possibilities and themes that may seem outside the usual range, and to engage in a more open, attentive, inventive and poetic sociological sensibility.

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"Affinities is a work of profound originality showing us what is to be gained from finding ways to become attuned to the effervescent, atmospheric aspects of social life. Beyond sociological clichés and comfortable academic conventions, this beautiful book is proof that sociology can be magical if we have the courage to believe in that possibility."
Les Back, Goldsmiths, University of London

"Jennifer Mason has created a beguiling example of the contemporary sociological imagination at work. She shifts boundaries to incorporate fresh fields of vision, giving new depth to sociological enquiry. Unquestionably a delightful work of perceptive scholarship."
Carol Smart, Professor Emerita, University of Manchester

"This book is a guide for retraining social science's rationalistic or categorical version of reality into a more worldly realism of potencies, energies and sentience. It conjures a world in which affinities matter as a way of conceptualizing how to live."
Kathleen Stewart, The University of Texas at Austin