"A praça": reappropriation of the public space and making of a public sphere by Portuguese social movements
Cédric Masse (Research Centre on Political Action - University of Lausanne)
Paper short abstract:
Through Portuguese social movements, we will see how their members make a public sphere by reappropriating a public place, “a praça”. This process occurs through artistic expressions, games, speeches, exchanges. Thus, social movements contribute to partly recreate the lost public sphere.
Paper long abstract:
In "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere" (1962), Jürgen Habermas asserted that the public sphere, a place activated by and for people, an area of public life open to the (in)formation, communication and debates on public issues, flourished in eighteenth-century Europe and then, by contrast, in the following centuries, it has vanished. Richard Senett depicted a quite similar situation and historical evolution some years later in his "The Fall of Public Man" (1974). In fact, I think social movements are spaces that permit to recuperate in part the lost public sphere. They are constructing "communicative reason" as when activists denounce "instrumental rationality" and particularly its economicist and neoliberal variant. They are places for "ideal speech situation", that is, for discussion, critics, politics, notably via print and virtual media. But, this is also the case when they take to the streets during marches and demonstrations, and in particular when they reappropriate a common kind of public place: The square. Through the example of Portuguese social movements, we will see how their members make a public sphere by reappropriating a public place, "a praça". In short, this process mainly occurs through the activation of various artistic expressions, games, speeches, conversations, exchanges, around foods and drinks, all of them taking place in the recuperated square.
Shaping lives and places within social movements