Drawing on the wide social scientific literature on emotions and affects, we highlight the value and potential contribution of the affect theory for understanding public engagement in environmental policy and planning. We suggest that such theorization complements political ontologies that envision concerned publics to arise as citizens are attached to objects and other beings in their everyday life. Focus on emotions and affects enables in-depth exploration of the corporeality of these attachments, increasing understanding about how affected publics get driven for action and how new sensibilities and horizons for action are created. Based on the discussion of affect theory and case examples, we argue that emotions and affects should be treated as crucial carriers of knowledge about transformation of political subjects and their concerns. They also direct analytic gaze beyond public participation procedures and encourage the development of novel, more inclusive settings for public engagement.
- environmental governance
- public engagemen