By way of an exemplary elucidation, we sketch a proposal on how the development and refinement of concepts can serve as a cross-disciplinary methodology in the study of affect and emotion. We focus on the working concept of an affective arrangement, which we characterize both historically and systematically and also with help of examples from recent affect research. We outline the concomitant thought style of arrangement thinking: a specific methodological orientation for qualitative work on relational affect. Thereby, we provide concrete materials for a view on the nature of conceptual practice in qualitative inquiry with broad application across the humanities, cultural studies and the social sciences.