What is it about?

In this paper we interrogate how different research assemblages act as affect-enhancing devices for elections by drawing from the 2015 Canadian Federal election. The paper uses scholarship from media events traditions to devise an ontological framework for analysing the mediatization of elections and to show how research assemblages propagate a myth of the mediated centre. We then discuss two examples of how research assemblages are deployed as mood enhancing devices within election coverage. The first example focuses on how polling data is deployed to generate and sustain a myth of the mediated centre within an ontology of expectation. For the second example, we turn to how the emergence of a participatory condition in contemporary sociality introduces an ontology of anticipation that further problematizes the role of research assemblages in the mediatization of elections. In the final sections of the paper, we examine a case study of Creative Publics: Art-Making Inspired by the Federal Election to discuss alternative approaches to researching elections that also draw on an ontology of anticipation. We show how alternative research assemblages can channel the anticipation generated by participatory politics to yield more diverse and critical forms of participation in the lead up to elections.

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Why is it important?

We develop a framework for analysing how affect is inherently part of research techniques used to cover elections. We provide empirically grounded examples of how to create research assemblages that challenge dominant approaches to research techniques for covering elections.


The findings discussed in this paper stem from the same research project as the one discussed in Mahoney, T. (2017). Art, Politics and Systemic Change: An Interview with Astra Taylor. Public, 28(55), 40–46. https://doi.org/10.1386/public.28.55.40_7

Dr Frederik F Lesage
Simon Fraser University

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This page is a summary of: Expectation and anticipation: research assemblages for elections, Continuum, May 2020, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/10304312.2020.1764781.
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