Gestures of Concern

November 1, 2020
Gestures of Concern

In Gestures of Concern Chris Ingraham shows that whilegestures such as sending a “Get Well” card may not beinstrumentally effective, they do exert an intrinsically affectiveforce 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 registersas they do through overt symbolic action. Ingraham demonstratesthat gestures of concern are central to establishing the necessaryconditions for larger social or political change because they givethe everyday aesthetic and rhetorical practices of public life thecapacity to attain some socially legible momentum. Rather thansupporting the notion that vociferous public communication is thebest means for political and social change, Ingraham advances theidea that concerned gestures can help to build the affectivecommunities that orient us to one another with an imaginable futurein mind. Ultimately, he shows how acts that many may considertrivial or banal are integral to establishing those backgroundconditions capable of fostering more inclusive social or politicalchange.