LSE Sociology and the Configuring Light research group are delighted to host a seminar by Mikkel Bille, one of the central voices in the emerging literatures on the material culture of ‘atmospheres’ and in the anthropology of light and lighting, and currently a visiting fellow in the LSE Sociology department.

The term ‘atmosphere’ is currently gaining focus to highlight the affective aspects of space in social science. A large part of this literature is based on scholars such as Gernot Böhme and his philosophy of atmosphere as the co-presence of subject and object. The main body of literature on atmosphere focuses on the individual experience of space, while the collective aspects of making and breaking an atmosphere in particular have been a focus of social science. The lecture focuses on atmosphere and the kind of communities and collective identities they help shape and originate from. With a special focus on light in everyday life, the lecture highlights how atmospheres not only are individually experienced, but also a central part of everyday life and culturally informed as atmospheric practices.

Mikkel Bille is associate professor at the Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University, and prior to this at the University of Copenhagen. He holds a PhD in social anthropology from University College London on Bedouin material culture and heritage. His current work is on the role of light and atmospheres in social life. He has co-edited three books, most recently Elements of Architecture: Assembling archaeology, atmosphere and the performance of building spaces (2016, with Tim Flohr Sorensen, Routledge), and Materialitet (2012, Forlaget Samfundslitteratur), as well as a special Issue of Emotion, Space and Society on ‘Staging Atmospheres’.

Photograph above: copyright Catarina Heeckt.