From the Arab uprisings to the indignados movement and the global Occupy sit-ins, recent protests and civil unrest have sparked new debates about political organisation, media representation and the nature of contemporary citizenship. But is there anything new about these occupations of public space? How are these protests legitimised or undermined by the intense mediation of streets and squares? And how are these different from expressions of dissent in other contexts, including those of ethnic minorities in the New Orleans mardi gras and survivors of natural disaster in the Philippines?
This book challenges the notion of a ‘disappearance of public space’ by reconsidering the significance of physical space and embodiment in the conduct and consequences of protest events. Looking at a range of assemblies–sustained and fleeting, spectacular and ordinary–this volume illuminates how square and street politics and their mediation become vehicles for new ideas of community, citizenship and public life.
Acknowledgements / Introduction, Maria Rovisco and Jonathan Corpus Ong / Part I: Street Politics, Occupations and Dissent / 1. Identity, Place and Politics: From Picket Lines to Occupation, Pollyanna Ruiz / 2. Occupying the digital-popular, Paolo Gerbaudo / 3. Place, Protest & Communication: Protest Camps and the Mediatisation of Space, Fabian Frenzel, Patrick McCurdy, Anna Feigenbaum / Part II: Democratic Struggles, New Publics and Mediated Protest / 4. Protest as Interruption of the Disaster Imaginary: Overcoming Voice-Denying Rationalities in Post-Haiyan Philippines, Nicole Curato, Jonathan Corpus Ong, Liezel Longboan / 5. ‘We Live in Public’: Twitter and Self-Mediated Hyper-Visibility in the Occupy Wall Street Movement, Joel Penney / 6. The Relationship between Online and Offline Participation in a Social Movement: Gezi Park Protests in the Diaspora, Christine Ogan, Roya Imani Giglou, and Leen d’Haenens / 7. Mediating Movement in Occupied Spaces: Documentation on Social Media Pages in the Context of the Umbrella Movement, Lisa Y. M. Leung / Part III: The Performance of Protest / 8. Performative Revolution in Egypt: An essay in Cultural Power, Jeffrey Alexander / 9. Hybridity in Street Performance of Zulu and Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans, Diane Grams / 10. Minority Groups and Strategies of Display and Dissent in Physical, Virtual, and Hybrid Spaces, Cheryll Ruth R. Soriano and Ruepert Jiel Cao / List of Contributors
Taking the Square provides an innovative perspective on civic resistance and social movement including case studies from the Arab uprisings to the indignados movement and Occupy. Contributors show how embodied protest events, assemblies and performances challenge conventional notions of media visibility to create new public spaces. Finally a book on culture, media and protest in Western and non-Western contexts.
Informative and insightful, this is a truly stimulating volume that captures the essence of recent social movements. Facilitated by digital media, this latest tidal wave of global activism has a strong spatial orientation. As the book shows, the protest strategies are diverse and dynamic in connecting, swarming, and repurposing the digital as well as the spatial.
This is a powerful collection of essays that is of high relevance to media and communication scholars focusing on protest movements as well as social movement scholars interested in the power of media and communication to organize and mobilize. The essays are thought-provoking and varied in how they approach the phenomenon of occupation and spatiality.
Maria Rovisco and Jonathan Corpus Ong are both lecturers in media and communication at the University of Leicester.