EASA2014: Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution
Protest and politics of grievance in Europe
Date and Start Time 01 August, 2014 at 16:00
This panel explores European political cultures of grievance and discontent. By exploring multiple forms of political activism, this panel aims to contribute to scholarship on resistance, protest movements, nationalism, and European integration.
The recent EU politics have been marked by global and euro crisis, new austerity policies, and challenges to European integration. From self-immolations in Bulgaria, the victory of "clowns" in Lithuania, Ireland, and Italy, to rising protest movements, the Europe faces new forms of political activism, which variously embrace ideas of democracy, nation, and community. This panel interrogates how the new Europe is imagined and shaped by various political activists; how various forms of dispossession are communicated and expressed in popular movements; how socialist, liberal, and national ideologies are integrated into protest movements; and what constitutes European political cultures of grievance and discontent. By exploring multiple forms of political activism, this panel aims to contribute to scholarship on resistance, protest movements, nationalism, and European integration.
Discussant: Dr. László Kürti (University of Miskolc, Hungary)
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
From political to ethnical community in Hungarian political discourse: the FIDESZ Government in transnational perspective
I will demonstrate a homology between the political discourses of the Hungarian New Right, on the one hand, and those of post-9/11 U.S. and the European Union, on the other, thus rejecting analyses that limit such developments their respective national frames.
Since the fall of 2012 Hungary has witnessed some major street demonstrations: the one accompanying the formation of a new alliance of anti-FIDESZ forces; the anti-Nazi rally after the suggestion of an extreme right wing MP that Jewish citizens should be centrally registered; the solidary protests condemning a FIDESZ member's call to eliminate all Roma, since they are animals; and not in the least the many student demonstrations protesting the radical reduction of tuition-free spaces at universities. I will interrogate these protests and their limitations in responding to the Hungarian government's politics of grievance by highlighting two opposing concepts of the political, following Jacques Ranciere's analysis of the ethical community, in which the ethical action on behalf of victims is prioritized over the rule of law and human rights. I will demonstrate a homology between the political discourses of the Hungarian New Right, on the one hand, and those of post-9/11 U.S. and the European Union, on the other, thus rejecting analyses that limit such developments their respective national frames.
Anti-statism, symbolic violence and insurgent potential within the "Ultras" movement
The grand epistemic dilemma this study seeks to reveal remains explaining if football fans are just valves "deporting" social violence or if they can become "armies" of contestation with strong revolutionary / insurgent potential.
Probably the most common and a constant expression of collective violence in Europe - hooliganism, or violence in sport, has a distorted social image, based on two important sources that provide information on this phenomenon: the press and the police. The research project is not intended to deal with hooliganism or deviance in sports, because it would be naïve to believe that a phenomenon as complex as "the human ability to construct real or symbolic enemies" (Armstrong, 1996) can be "treated" . Whether it comes from the tendency of "ritualization of drama" or uncontrollable energies released for football, violence in sport is much more than aggressive behaviour of various groups of supporters. The ultras scene in the Balkans generally speaking and in Romania especially has offered in this period important examples of nationalist manifestations, at times symbolically chauvinistic: the problem of national identity (e.g. Kosovo, Republic of Moldova etc.), the participation at anti-gay gatherings, often existing an overlap between membership in an ultras group and an extremist group. What this study seeks to reveal is "the unseen iceberg", consisting of a "mix" of anti-statism, a strong local patriotism, honor codes and other symbolic and ritual violence. The grand epistemic dilemma remains explaining if football fans are just valves "deporting" social violence or they can become "armies" of contestation with strong revolutionary / insurgent potential: ex. Bucharest, Piata Universitatii Riot - 2012, Budapest Riot - 2006 (case studies).
Of power and laughter: political participation, opposition, and moral alternatives in Lithuania
This paper explores the 2008 carnivalesque electoral campaign in Lithuania, which appealed to communities of despair and engaged moral citizenship through laughter. Humor mediated serious efforts to constitute a different politics and promoted a new ontology of post-socialism.
Since 1989 we have observed expanding forms of political participation as well as opposition in Europe. From Portugal to Sweden, Bulgaria to Iceland, and Ukraine and Bosnia more recently citizens have reacted to economic and political crises, social marginalization, and exclusion with mass protests and self-immolations. They have also enacted innovative forms of political participation and opposition, such as street theaters and canivalesque campaigns. This paper focuses on the parliamentary elections of 2008 in Lithuania, when the newly founded National Resurrection Party (NRP), popularly called a 'showmen party', gained 15 percent of the total vote and finished second. Citizens were amused by images of vampires, the insane, prostitutes, and criminals in the NRP campaign. They laughed at subversive messages, such as "Let us in the Ship of Fools!", that is, the Parliament. I argue that the 2008 electoral carnivalesque was a politics of becoming, a future-oriented process that engaged communities of despair and promoted moral citizenship through laughter. It introduced various changes: attracted new people to politics, especially the young; reframed political debates and introduced new ideas; and challenged some state policies, practices, and ideologies. Humor mediated serious efforts to constitute a different politics and promoted a new ontology of post-socialism.
Letter writing as a form of protest
It is important to assess and explore the forms of communication which existed and supported protest movements before internet and mobile technologies were available. My paper will look at the letters and letter writing as a communication platform of protests during the period 1988-1991 in Latvia.
Social networks, blogs and other digital media forms are claimed to play a significant, if not the major, role in the recent protests all over the world. On the other hand, it is important to assess and explore the forms of communication which existed and supported protest movements before internet and mobile technologies were available. My paper will look at the letters and letter writing as a platform of protest and communication in the independence movement in Latvia during 1980s.
My fieldwork is letters written during the period from the 1988-1991 in Latvia. These letters were sent to the broadcast Labvakar! (Good Evening!) at the state television channel Latvijas Televīzija (LTV). From more than a thousand letters sent to the broadcast, I have chosen to explore those which are dealing with questions of history, i.e., occupation, deportations, etc.
I am interested foremost in the sentiments attached to the accounts of history in the letters and how they are used to support the resistance and protest movement. Suffering, notion of 'the truth' and injustice in the letters were manifested in order to fight against the occupational regime. What kind of claims and assertions are expressed through the letters? How was the communication and relations formed between the writer and the broadcast? I believe that these questions will help to explore the significance of the communication in the protest movements, as well as deeper understanding of the recent developments of nationalism and identity in Europe.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.