ABSTRACT

Cuteness is one of the most culturally pervasive aesthetics of the new millennium and its rapid social proliferation suggests that the affective responses it provokes find particular purchase in a contemporary era marked by intensive media saturation and spreading economic precarity. Rejecting superficial assessments that would deem the ever-expanding plethora of cute texts trivial, The Aesthetics and Affects of Cuteness directs serious scholarly attention from a variety of academic disciplines to this ubiquitous phenomenon. The sheer plasticity of this minor aesthetic is vividly on display in this collection which draws together analyses from around the world examining cuteness’s fundamental role in cultural expressions stemming from such diverse sources as military cultures, high-end contemporary art worlds, and animal shelters. Pushing beyond prevailing understandings that associate cuteness solely with childhood or which posit an interpolated parental bond as its primary affective attachment, the essays in this collection variously draw connections between cuteness and the social, political, economic, and technological conditions of the early twenty-first century and in doing so generate fresh understandings of the central role cuteness plays in the recalibration of contemporary subjectivities.  

chapter 1|34 pages

The Aesthetics and Affects of Cuteness

ByJoshua Paul Dale, Joyce Goggin, Julia Leyda, Anthony P. McIntyre, Diane Negra

chapter 2|21 pages

The Appeal of the Cute Object: Desire, Domestication, and Agency

ByAgency Joshua Paul Dale

chapter 8|24 pages

Cute Twenty-First-Century Post-Fembots

ByJulia Leyda

chapter 11|19 pages

Affective Marketing and the Kuteness of Kiddles

ByJoyce Goggin

chapter 12|18 pages

Kittens, Farms, and Wild Pandas: The Impact of Cuteness in Adult Gamble-Play Media

ByCésar Albarrán-Torres

chapter 13|21 pages

Under the Yolk of Consumption: Re-Envisioning the Cute as Consumable

ByNadia de Vries