This article develops the concept of affinity as one means available in understanding how citizens make, or fail to make, connections with politics and politicians. It is argued that the disappearance of class from much political discourse has led to more emotional ways of relating to politics. We claim that the reflexivity involved in political deliberation must take account of people’s emotional responses to the political. We argue that one key element in these emotional responses is a feeling, or lack of feeling, of affinity. We propose that citizens often use feelings of likeness in their (dis)engagement with politicians, policies and parties. Understanding the emotional aspects of political (dis)engagement in this way is crucial in dealing with concerns about widespread disengagement from, and dissatisfaction with, electoral politics.
- emotional reflexivity
- political (dis)engagement