Dictionaries and casual conversation both tend to equate ‘affect’ with ‘emotion.’ But affect also often shades over into ‘feeling,’ and as such seems to point to a zone where emotion intersects with processes taking place at a more corporeal level. Even in its relatively untheorized invocations, affect carries tactile, sensuous, and perhaps also involuntary connotations. This essay is a critical exploration of the implications of such a category for social analysis. I write in the belief that only those ideas that compel our desire as well as our resistance receive and deserve the most sustained critique.