What's In a Name? The Affective Dimensions of Naming Research Collaborations

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This chapter explores the ways in which the labelling of research collaborations structures the affective dimensions of those collaborations. Research funders, for example, routinely require researchers to create acronyms as identifiers for their research. Such acronyms, often unpronounceable and unintelligible, obscure the research they name. At the level of the research label they thereby generate particular affective responses, gesturing towards a knowing elite from which those ‘not in the know’ are excluded. Shore and Wright (1999) discuss the proliferation of acronyms in terms of a ‘new kind of disciplinary apparatus’ in the Foucauldian sense, with particular effects upon researchers, creating three categories of specialists: intellectuals, bureaucrats and trainers. Shore and Wright do not discuss the affective dimensions of this development. These issues will form the centre of this chapter. Drawing on a range of concrete examples, I shall argue that naming, the process whereby identity is accorded to a research project, acts as a first device for setting (affective) research agendas within the lifecycle of a research collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Emotional Politics of Research Collaboration
EditorsGabriele Griffin, Hildur Kalman, Annelie Branstrom Ohman
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2013

Publication series

NameAdvanced Research Methods


  • emotions; naming; research collaboration; labeling theory

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