This book unpacks the ways in which nationalisms - understood as feelings between national belonging and alienation - unfold in moments of affective encounter between different bodies, objects and places in Azerbaijan. In times of a global trend to fight for the persistence of singular nations instead of dissolving national boundaries, the book suggests focusing on the development of attachments and detachments to nationalising beliefs, corporeal experiences and everyday routines, in order to understand the ways in which bodies' different capacities to affect and to be affected are of central importance for the emergence and the persistence of nationalisms.
Based on eight months of ethnographic field work, consisting of observant participation within families, field notes from attendance at public holidays and commemoration ceremonies and qualitative interviews conducted between 2012 and 2014 in Azerbaijan, the book develops the concept of affective nationalism as the banal affirmation of the national emerging in moments of encounter between different bodies and objects.
The book advances scholarship on nationalism and affect by suggesting to study nationalisms not as given, but as potential and emergent experiences of differently positioned bodies in a world divided into nations.
Elisabeth Militz holds a PhD in Geography (University of Zurich, Switzerland). She is a postdoctoral researcher of Social and Cultural Geography at the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern, Switzerland. She studies bodies and affect in the global intimate.