New centre created to explore the rise of ‘emotional politics’

The importance of feelings for politics is at the heart of an exciting new London universities joint venture.

A new interdisciplinary ‘Centre for the Politics of Feelings(Opens in new window)’ will be established in September 2021 at the University of London in a partnership between its School of Advanced Study(Opens in new window) and Royal Holloway, University of London(Opens in new window) with the generous support of the NOMIS Foundation(Opens in new window).

The centre will be led by Manos Tsakiris, professor of psychology at Royal Holloway, and aims to address, from a multidisciplinary perspective, how emotions and their underlying neurophysiological mechanisms shape our political beliefs and behaviour, as well as how politics shape and exploit our emotions.

Research fellows across life sciences, social sciences and the humanities will form the first generation of scholars to work at the centre. Beyond its core team based in London, it will also forge collaborations with other academic and non-academic partners and will be supported by an international advisory board of leading scientists and scholars.

‘While the presence of emotions in politics has long been assumed, the centre intends to bring a new and unique interdisciplinary perspective, creating the intellectual space where different disciplines can work together to understand the intricate relation between emotions and politics in the 21st century of increasing polarisation, fake news, social media, precarious health and rising populism.’

Professor Paul Layzell, principal of Royal Holloway, added: ‘We are very pleased to be leading on the Centre for the Politics of Feelings and working alongside the School of Advanced Study to be able to bring together some of the best experts in the field to further research this interesting concept. Its relevance will be lasting given the pressing challenges we are facing as a result of climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and its legacy and the rise of artificial intelligence.’

The longer-term vision is for the centre to become an internationally recognised research hub at the intersection of politics and emotions, co-hosting a range of disciplines, from life and social sciences to digital humanities and media.

‘The collaborative, interdisciplinary Centre for the Politics of Feelings will be creating a spark in the world of research by exploring new lines of inquiry that will advance our fundamental understanding of the human condition. We are very excited to be supporting this pioneering endeavour.’ said Markus Reinhard, managing director of the NOMIS Foundation.

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