Emotional energy is key to disruptive institutional work, but we still know little about what it is, and importantly, how it is re-fuelled. This empirical paper presents an in-depth case study of ‘No More Page 3’ (#NMP3), an Internet-based feminist organisation which fought for the removal of sexualised images of women from a UK newspaper. Facing online misogyny, actors engage in ‘emotional energy replenishment’ to sustain this disruptive institutional work amidst emotional highs and lows. We introduce ‘affective embodiment’ – the corporeal and emotional experiences of the institution – as providing emotional energy in relation to disruptive institutional work. Affective embodiment is surfaced through alignment or misalignment with others’ embodied experiences, and this mediates how actors replenish emotional energy. Alignment with other’s embodied experiences, often connected to online abuse, means emotional energy is replenished through ‘affective solidarity’ (movement towards the collective). Misalignment, surfaced through tensions within the movement, means actors seek replenishment through ‘sensory retreat’ (movement away from the collective). This study contributes to theorisation on institutional work and emotional energy by re-centring the importance of the body alongside emotions, as well as offering important lessons for online organising.
|Early online date||11 Feb 2021|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2022|