"Welcome to Rabiatistan": affective atmospheres in crisis simulations

Authors: Simon Runkel*, Heidelberg University
Topics: Social Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: atmospheres, ambiances, development aid, crisis simulation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Regency Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Simulations and war games are powerful tools for preparing professionals for crisis situations. Funded by the German government, such simulations and trainings are carried out for development aid workers about to be sent abroad. By drawing on auto-ethnographies of a trip to the simulated country of “Rabiatistan” for ten days, the paper argues that “affective atmospheres” (Anderson 2009) provide a useful concept to understand the efforts to stage stressful and fearful scenarios for training professionals. In this sense, atmospheres are both personal and contextual, and by that make discourses on developmental aid tangible for the lived body. The paper aims to shed light on the securitization of development aid and critically discusses how atmospheres become politicized through experiences of fear and stress.

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