Although affect and emotion are often discussed in institutional and organizational research, they are rarely studied systematically and in accordance with their overall relevance. To investigate the decisive but subtle, sometimes barely noticeable or taken-for-granted power of institutions, we need to achieve a better understanding of the close intertwining of institutional rules, operations, and spaces with complex affective dynamics. In this article, we therefore develop an analytical framework that allows to investigate the countless affective dynamics that characterize institutions. First, this framework can help to come to terms with the multidimensionality of institutional affect and thus inform empirical studies of institutions. Second, our approach allows scholars and researchers to make visible those developments and modes of agency that run counter to the official functions and self-understandings of institutions. As a an initial step, we propose a conceptual clarification of „institution“ and „organization“ that incorporates various references to social theory which already foreshadow some dynamics of institutional affect. Further detailing this perspective, we develop an analytical grid that focuses, first, on what we call the „guiding affects“ of institutions and, second, on the internal affective dynamics of institutions. The proposed framework provides a variety of links to discussions of institutions in cultural studies and the social sciences.
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