American Ethnologist on Occupy

The May 2012 issue of American Ethnologist has three open-access articles focused on the Occupy movement. In “The Occupy Movement in Žižek’s hometown: Direct democracy and a politics of becoming,” Maple Razsa and Andrej Kurnik write:

We trace the development of decidedly minoritarian forms of decision making—the “democracy of direct action,” as it is known locally—to activists’ experiences of organizing for migrant and minority rights in the face of ethnonationalism. We compare the democracy of direct action to Occupy Wall Street’s consensus-based model. In conclusion, we ask how ethnographic attention to the varieties of emergent political forms within the current global cycle of protest might extend recent theorizing of radical politics and contribute to broader efforts to reimagine democracy.

Jeffrey S. Juris offers “Reflections on #Occupy Everywhere: Social media, public space, and emerging logics of aggregation”:

Whereas listservs and websites helped give rise to a widespread logic of networking within the movements for global justice of the 1990s–2000s, I argue that social media have contributed to an emerging logic of aggregation in the more recent #Occupy movements—one that involves the assembling of masses of individuals from diverse backgrounds within physical spaces. However, the recent shift toward more decentralized forms of organizing and networking may help to ensure the sustainability of the #Occupy movements in a posteviction phase.

And David Nugent comments on the first two articles and the questions they raise “about the temporalities of capitalism and about the dilemmas of inclusion in the recent Occupy movements.”

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