An Emotional Economy of Mundane Objects

Alev Kuruoglu, Guliz Ger

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article illuminates the affective potentialities of objects. We examine the circulation of Kurdish music cassettes in Turkey during the restrictive and strife-laden period of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. We find that the practices comprising circulation – recording, hiding, playing, and exchanging cassettes – constituted tactical resistance and generated communal imaginaries. We illuminate the “emotional economy” that is animated by a mundane object: the cassette, through its circulation, becomes saturated with emotions, establishes shared emotional repertoires, and habituates individuals and collectives into common emotional dispositions. Cassettes thus play a part in shaping and reinforcing an emotional habitus that accompanies the emergence of a sense of “us,” the delineation of the “other,” and the relationship between the two. We thus demonstrate the entwinement of materiality and emotions, and examine how this entwinement generates emotional structures that shape and perpetuate the imagining of community as well as the enactment of resistance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalConsumption Markets & Culture
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)209-238
Publication statusPublished - 4. May 2015

Bibliographical note

Best Paper Award, 2015


  • circulation
  • community
  • emotional habitus
  • emotions
  • materiality
  • resistance

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