Thrift, Darwin and Affect


I’m one of those people who sees everything in the world through the lens of what they’re currently reading. Of course, certain things stick with me (Spinoza) and others are gone like yesterday’s iphone, but when I clicked on this news story from within my email inbox and saw this photo, I immediately thought of Thrift, who writes:

“For Darwin, expressions of emotion were universal and are the product of evolution. Neither our expressions nor our emotions are necessarily unique to human beings. Other animals have some of the same emotions, and some of the expressions produced by animals resemble our own” (181).

As others have noted, Thrift is indeed an expert at uncovering a wide wide variety of perspectives on whatever he is discussing (in this particular context, he’s describing four different approaches to understanding affect, which is helpful), but perennially fails to explore anything in depth. Nevertheless, I’m trying to “read him on his own terms” — as David Harvey insists we must do with Marx — and take away what feels like snippets of information that might be helpful for me. Sure, in the end Thrift’s book is going to primarily be a reference to much more developed work, but I’m trying to appreciate it for what it is. In fact, upon re-reading this post, I think Nigel would be one helluva blogger.