The recent “materialist turn” stresses the fundamental role of nonhumans in the constitution of humans’ social and political life and argues that the inability to grasp their importance dooms normative prognoses for ordering society to ethical, political, and practical failure. This article combines insights from recent affect theory and indigenous and non–North Atlantic societies in response to this epistemological and theoretical critique. It argues (1) that affect analyses can give a fuller account of the ways in which nonhuman others participate in the creation and maintenance of human sociability and (2) that societies such as those organized along totemistic or animist lines have a different “affective attunement” toward nonhuman others, whom they admit as social members (we call these heterological societies). However, anthropocentrism renders insensible the logic of their modes of social organization. Referring to ethnographic examples, this article shows how affect analysis can help translate the insights of heterological societies, so as to eventually dismantle the current anthropocentrism.

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