Gestures of Concern

Gestures of Concern

a Cultural Politics Book

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Book Pages: 280 Illustrations: 18 illustrations Published: August 2020

Author: Chris Ingraham

Cultural Studies > Affect Theory, Media Studies > Communication

In Gestures of Concern Chris Ingraham shows that while gestures such as sending a “Get Well” card may not be instrumentally effective, they do exert an intrinsically affective force on a field of social relations. From liking, sharing, posting, or swiping to watching a TED Talk or wearing an “I Voted” sticker, such gestures operate as much through affective registers as they do through overt symbolic action. Ingraham demonstrates that gestures of concern are central to establishing the necessary conditions for larger social or political change because they give the everyday aesthetic and rhetorical practices of public life the capacity to attain some socially legible momentum. Rather than supporting the notion that vociferous public communication is the best means for political and social change, Ingraham advances the idea that concerned gestures can help to build the affective communities that orient us to one another with an imaginable future in mind. Ultimately, he shows how acts that many may consider trivial or banal are integral to establishing those background conditions capable of fostering more inclusive social or political change.


“Chris Ingraham is a lively and engaging writer. While crafting beautiful prose he exhibits remarkable patience with trivial—often ephemeral—objects. Thus, he gives us ample opportunity to appreciate their public relevance and the role they play in helping to constitute public life in the internet age. And all of this he draws under the aegis of ‘gestures of concern’—a gem of a concept that makes a significant contribution to rhetoric, political theory, and public sphere theory.” — Ted Striphas, author of The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control


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Price: $26.95

Open Access

Spring 2020 Sale
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Chris Ingraham is Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Utah and coeditor of LEGOfied: Building Blocks as Media.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Table of Contents Forthcoming
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0951-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0858-3