Any of my readers thinking of submitting a piece for the upcoming ‘enthuse’ special issue of M/C Journal should do so relatively quickly.
Enthusiasm can be â€˜blindâ€™; yet, â€˜no great deed can be doneâ€™ without it. Tests of â€˜competitionâ€™, masculine â€˜riskâ€™, creative â€˜experimentâ€™, and political â€˜opportunityâ€™ or â€˜struggleâ€™ are all examples of the more general â€˜challengeâ€™ that manifests enthusiasm and mobilises bodies into action. Following Tomkins, enthusiasm could also be understood as a complex of affects organised around the activation contour of interest-excitement, but without the â€˜normativeâ€™ inhibitor of shame. Kant described enthusiasm as an excitation that exceeds the astonishment of novelty. Indeed, the Enlightenment conception of enthusiasm is a subjectively internal mode of the sublime that operated as a kind of motor for perseverance and action that may result in, as Lyotard notes, a challenging â€˜historicalâ€™ impasse. Yet another dimension of enthusiasm is captured by Moorhouse, who uses â€˜enthusiasmâ€™ to describe some sense of the material infrastructure of passion in the subcultural scene of hot rodding and the related motorsport of drag racing. Masculine subculturalists are captivated and mobilised by the socio-technical challenges inculcated by the modified car.
In the post-Fordist era, enthusiasm has become central to mobilising unpaid labour, be it for extracting surplus value from the communicative labour of word-of-mouth viral marketing campaigns to the amateur labour that maintains and services community cultural institutions. Across the spectrum, material and discursive infrastructures of enthusiasm receive investment and become â€˜cultural enterprisesâ€™. Are audiences no longer cultural dupes simply because they will their own enthusiastic interpellation through participatory subjectivities? Is an enthusiastic cynic possible?
We invite enthusiastic submissions that address the different dimensions of â€˜enthuseâ€™ as a process and/or state. This may include, but is certainly not limited to scenes and enthusiasm; historico-political enthusiasms; dysfunctional enthusiasms; popular enthusiasms; charisma/interest/hype as enthusiasm; and enthusiast media and the culture industries.