Feeling Bad: Negative Emotions and Politics

A day of talks and screenings exploring the power of negative emotions in politics.


What do Brexiteers, Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn and Islamic terrorists have to do with each other? In one way or another, they all utilise or appeal to what Sianne Ngai calls ‘Ugly Feelings’ – feelings that are seen as minor, negative and unsavoury in social situations and modern democracies.

Why are these feelings so present in contemporary politics? Where do they come from and why are they so powerful?

Taking place the weekend before the UK general election, the day will be an opportunity to explore some of the psychological, emotional and ideological forces behind politics, and an opportunity to discuss the bad feelings we all have when we undertake political activity ourselves – whether that’s activism, discussing politics with friends and family, shouting at the radio or firing off angry tweets.


12:00 – Doors open

12:15 – Introduction by Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau

12:30 – Elisabetta Brighi – The Politics of Resentment

13:30 – Sam Ashenden & James Brown – Constitutive Guilt

14:30 – Screening – The Halfway Line, Panorama documentary from 1977 about Millwall football hooligans.

15:30 – Screening – The Internet Warriors, 2017, directed by Kyrre Lien

15:30 – Philip Spencer – Antisemitism and the Left

16:30 – Hamish MacPherson – Doomsday is just not coming

17:30 – Drinks

18:00 – End

There will also be a reading room with an audio archive of Bad Vibes Club lectures and printed out copies of the relevant reading material.

On Friday 2 June, there is a Bad Vibes Club: Study Day connected to the Feeling Bad event. To book your place for the study day, please email –

Free & open to all. No booking required for this day.