The Aesthetics and Affects of Cuteness. Edited by Joshua Paul Dale, Joyce Goggin, Julia Leyda, Anthony P. McIntyre, Diane Negra (Routledge 2017)
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-expandingplethora 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.