untitledSenka BOŽIĆ VRBANČIĆ
The University of Zadar

Policy, Diversity, Affective Economies and Bodily

In my talk I discuss  inextricability  of emotions and  public policies  and  analyse  various ways in which  feelings are  negotiated in the public sphere.  I start  with anthropology of policy that stress that public  policy could be seen as a mechanism that contributes
to the formation of identity. As  Chris  Shore and  Susan Wright (1997, 2011) point out, public policies  affect  the lives and livelihoods of citizens. They  actively constitute social reality. They give shape and  meaning to what we call reality, they are often designed not so much to generate public support but  to construct what they propose in order to bear on the
governance of the social. Therefore,  according to  them,  the anthropological task is to question  power  relations and  ‘naturalised’ assumptions which often  frame public policy. Inspired by affect theory,  especially by  the work of   Sara Ahmed (2004, 2010, 2012) and Lauren Berlant (2014, 2015, 2016), I argue  that in order to understand power relations and
policies as a form of social action we also need to  explore ‘emotionality  of policy’, the ways in which policies are designed to offer emotional attachments  to people, the kind of fantasies they mobilize (utopian  and dystopian), and atmospheres they create  that  people move through  (anxiety, fear, happiness…)  in  relation to the abstractions like race, gender, class and  nation.  To talk about emotionality of policy  and  affective tendencies is, as Berlant (2015) argues,  almost always to talk about intensities, and  “behind  that linkage is a relation to the stories which we tell  about ourselves, that modality of performance that
attaches feeling states to bodily performance”.  In  discussing some of these issues I use examples from  my own ethnographic research on  contemporary  policies of cultural diversity  in New Zealand  and  representations of  relations between Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand and  Croatians,  one of the many ethnic groups in New Zealand.

Senka  Božić-Vrbančić  holds a PhD in Anthropology  from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.  She has  worked  at the Department of Anthropology at the  University of Auckland, in the Center for Sociology and  Cultural Studies in Lviv,  in the School of Philosophy,  Anthropology and Social Inquiry at the University of  Melbourne, and  at the University of Zadar where she is  currently  Associate Professor  in the Department of  Ethnology and Anthropology. Her work spans the fields of  anthropology, cultural studies, visual culture and memory  studies with an emphasis on  the politics of culture,  migration, hybridity  and identity issues  (class/gender/ethnicity/race).  She is the author of Tarara:
Croatians and Maori in New  Zealand (memory,  belonging, identity)  (Otago University  Press, 2008;  Jesenski &Turk, 2018); the co-author of Hitchcockijanski  pogled – Hitchcockian gaze  (Jesenski & Turk, 2017) and  the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters,
including  “Waiting to be Loved: the European Union’s  Hope to be the Loved Object” (2009),  “Strong European  Emotions: the  Politics of Culture in the EU”  (2010),  ”Being Marked  as Different: the Emotional Politics of  Experiences of Depression and Migrant Belongings”
(2015) and “I am Tired of all of These Feelings: Narrating  Suffering in the Film Sick” (2018). For her work she has  received  several academic awards and honors.