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Affective energies: Sensory bodies on the beach in Darwin, Australia
journal contributionposted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by Michele Lobo
Emerging debates on anti-racism within white majority cultures centre emotion and affect to explore the visceral nature of racialised encounters that unfold in public spaces of the city. This paper builds on such understandings by conceptualising whiteness as a force that exerts affective pressures on bodies of colour who are hypervisible in public spaces. I show that these pressures have the potential to wound, numb and immobilise bodies affecting what they can do or what they can become. This paper argues, however, that affective energies from human and non-human sources are productive forces that are also sensed in public spaces such as the suburban beach. These energies entangle sensuous bodies with the richness of a more-than-human world and have the potential to offer new insights into exploring how racially differentiated bodies live with difference. The paper draws on ethnographic research conducted in Darwin, a tropical north Australian city at the centre of politicised public debates on asylum seeker policy, migrant integration and Indigenous wellbeing. My attention to affective pressures and affective energies contributes to understanding how bodies with complex histories and geographies of racialisation can inhabit a world of becoming.