P04
Beyond the Arab Spring: the aesthetics and poetics of popular revolt and protest

Convenors:
Pnina Werbner (Keele University)
Martin Webb (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Dimitris Dalakoglou (Vrije University Amsterdam)
Location:
Convention Centre Lecture Hall-I
Start time:
5 April, 2012 at 15:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The list of countries seeing major protest movements and revolts in 2011 is long: Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Libya, India, Botswana, Greece, Spain, the UK, Israel, Wisconsin or Chile are just a few. This panel is concerned with the aesthetics and poetics of those current movements and events.

Long abstract:

These protests have raised a lot of debates; however, the main emphasis of this panel is not simply on the politics of the revolts but on their aesthetic and poetical aspects. These protest events were/are imaginative and creative, utilising aesthetic popular media, electronic media, shared hand gestures, visual and material discourses, artistic actions and theatrical speeches to convey their message. Simultaneously, during this spring-summer of protests, people often resorted to the aesthetics of fire, broken windows, flying glass bottles and the praxis of violence, as happened for example in the case of the UK during the August 2011 riots, but also before, during the anti-cuts movement protests where people responded to state's violence with counter-violence. Everywhere, the political establishment responded in helpless shock, panic and often physical harm, utilizing the old and usual aesthetics of the State repressive apparatuses and the aesthetics of law, order and corporate mass media. This session invites contributions not only from anthropologists who have studied the events of the Arab Spring itself, but the rest of the popular protest and revolt which have been inspired by them or have shared some of their cosmopolitan values. We ask from the participants -without depoliticizing and undermining the political objectives of the protests- to approach them from the perspective of their aesthetic and poetical articulations; to talk about and analyse the material, visual, physical and sensual manifestations of these aesthetics and their meanings.