The spectre of governments managing populations in spaces below cognition is a disconcerting prospect, and the concepts of ‘neuroliberalism’ (Isin, 2004), ‘affective politics’ (Ahmed, 2004) and ‘affective governance’ (Hook, 2007) have become important tools in the project to understand the creative and pervasive ways that our ‘affective capacities and relations are the “object-target” of techniques of governance’ (Anderson, 2012: 30). For geographers this has meant developing a ‘sharper geographical sensibility to things subterranean’ (Anderson and Smith, 2001: 9) in an attempt to track the ‘unseen’ world that affects us (see Dewsbury et al., 2002). In this affective world, the ‘unseen’ constitutes extralinguistic phenomena that, plainly, resist representation; we can speak of emotions more easily than we can of affects. Used evocatively, however, language can carry emotions and affects and therefore becomes an important tool in the discussion and understanding of affective life. Reflecting this, to ‘get at’ the affective,
extra-linguistic world this chapter takes leave of certain writing conventions, presenting a narrativised affective journey to active citizenship. I use the case of International Citizen Service (ICS), a British government volunteering programme that sends young people abroad to work on development projects and requires volunteers to continue their work on return to the UK. The account re-evokes the affective tenor of the ICS programme’s marketing and pedagogical material. The material was examined using the body ‘as a recording machine itself’, keeping faith that something of my own ‘recorded’ embodied experience can, as John-David Dewsbury has argued, ‘become legitimate data for dissemination and analysis’ (2010: 327).