Affect, practice, and change: Dancing world politics at the Congress of Vienna

Felix Roesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


How do practices change? To approach this in practice theory (PT) is a widely debated question. This article brings PT in conversation with the study of emotions in International Relations by considering the role of affect in practice changes. For it is affect that permeates the placiotemporal and bodily constellations during practice performances, continuously provoking changes in and through practices. In initiating this conversation, this article adds to current PT literature by arguing that world political transformations not only find their origin in external conditions, identified as such through individual reflection, but also in affective dynamics of the everyday. To elaborate this more theoretical argument, this article evolves against the empirical backdrop of dancing as an everyday international practice at the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815). Affect that permeated dances in Vienna not only substantiated changes in this practice but, with the waltz replacing the minuet as the preferred dance among international political decision-makers, also changes through it occurred. While the minuet embodied collective sentiments of a transboundary European elite, the waltz helped to further national imaginations of world politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-140
Number of pages18
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number2
Early online date26 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Congress of Vienna
  • affect
  • change
  • dance
  • nineteenth century
  • practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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