AFFECTIVE POLITICS OF THE “AUTONOMOUS ZONE”: FROM MELANCHOLIA TO EMPOWERED POLITICAL ACTION

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Ana Blazheva

Abstract

The paper examines the political potential of melancholia as part of the affective politics of the "Autonomous Zone," an action implemented by the Student movement "Student Plenum" in 2015 in Macedonia. The main focus is on the affective potential of the "Autonomous zone" as a temporary, embodied, and enacted political practice. In the beginning, the focus is on the psychoanalytic concept of melancholy and its social aspect. Then, the social aspect of the affectivity of melancholy is presented as a marginalized position. The example used here refers to the melancholic and marginalized status of the students in Macedonian society before the student movement.
Further, the theoretical framework draws from the contemporary interdisciplinary approach towards embodied and enacted social participation in a shared world. It is a phenomenological perspective towards social action that incorporates intersubjectivity, intercorporeality, and interaffectivity. This approach is then used as the ground for analysis of the affective politics inspired by the work of Silvia Federici and her claim that reproductive work and sphere can serve as a potential for political imagination and anti-capitalist social transformation.
The research and analysis are implemented on the specific part of the Students movement in Macedonia "Student Plenum" from 2015, embodied and enacted through the occupation of the University named "Autonomous Zone." The Autonomous zone lasted for two weeks, during which the students organized the life in and the space of the Philosophical and Philological Faculties on the University campus of "St. Cyril and Methodius" in Skopje. The analysis follows embodied and enacted experiences of affects, space, intimacy, dialogue, solidarity, and responsibility as central aspects of the affective politics, which they used as political tools and personal transformation capacity. The analysis shows that students' affective experiences during the occupation were the core aspect of the transformation of their melancholic experience and marginalized social position.

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