Contemporary Political Theory 12 (3):166-184 (2013)

What, if anything, do the ‘square’ protests and ‘occupy’ movements of 2011 bring to contemporary democratic theory? And how can we, as political theorists, analyse their discourse and do justice to it? We address these questions through an analysis of the Greek and Spanish protest movements of the spring and summer of 2011, the so-called aganaktismenoi and indignados. We trace the centrality of the critique of representation and politics as usual as well as the ideas about horizontality and autonomy in the protesters’ discourse. These ideas are not only important to their critique of the contemporary liberal democratic regimes in the two countries, but also important to the way in which the protesters organise themselves. Nonetheless, as we shall argue, the protesters are caught within a tension between horizontality and verticality, between autonomy and hegemony, or between moving beyond representation and accepting representational structures. Given this tension, we examine how the protesters negotiate it in three key areas: politics, representation and organisation. Drawing on Jacques Rancière, we further argue that the protesters can be seen as making a claim to equal voice. This is what Rancière refers to as politics proper, and the question is then whether such a politics is possible without falling back into traditional forms of politics.
Keywords democratic theory  protest movements  rancie
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Reprint years 2013
ISBN(s) doi:10.1057/cpt.2012.26
DOI 10.1057/cpt.2012.26
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References found in this work BETA

Jacques Rancière and the Problem of Pure Politics.Samuel A. Chambers - 2011 - European Journal of Political Theory 10 (3):303-326.
The Symbolic Challenge of Contemporary Social Movements.A. Meucci - 1985 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 52.

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Rethinking Radical Democracy.Paulina Tambakaki - 2019 - Contemporary Political Theory 18 (4):498-518.

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