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Protest and Political Transformation since 1789

Aulich, James (2019) Protest and Political Transformation since 1789. In: The Aesthetics of Global Protest: Visual Culture and Communication. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 9789463724913

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Abstract

This chapter contextualizes the nature of the aesthetics of contemporary political protest and public demonstration in their wider historical and theoretical contexts. It examines precedents in the French Revolution of 1789, the Spring of Nations of 1848, the ‘Turn’ in central East Europe of 1989, and the ‘colour revolutions’ in former communist states in the first quarter of the 21st century. Theoretically, it attempts to extend Richard Grusin’s concept of radical mediation, Jacque Rancière’s politics of the sensible and Judith Butler’s theory of performativity through a reading of Karen Barad’s agential realism. The argument hypothesizes that not only the immediate aesthetics and performative actions of demonstrators, but the mechanisms and apparatuses of their mediation carry the weight of ethical responsibility.

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