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The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest

The Arab Spring and Beyond

Edited by Pnina Werbner, Martin Webb, Kathryn Spellman-Poots

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Published in Association with the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

Explores the aesthetic dimensions of the Arab Spring and the protest movements that followed

From Egypt to India, and from Botswana to London, worker, youth and middle class rebellions have taken on the political and bureaucratic status quo and the privilege of small, wealthy and often corrupt elites at a time when the majority can no longer earn a decent wage.

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Introduction, Pnina Werbner, Martin Webb and Kathryn Spellman-Poots
Part I: The Arab Spring: Uprisings and Their Aftermath
Teargas, Flags, and the Harlem Shake: Images of and for Revolution in Tunisia and the Dialectics of the Local in the Global, Simon Hawkins
Singing the Revolt in Tahrir Square: Euphoria, Utopia and Revolution, Dalia Wahdan
‘I Dreamed of Being a People’: Egypt's Revolution, the People, and Critical Imagination, Hanan Sabea
The Body of the Colonel: Caricature and Incarnation in the Libyan Revolution, Igor Cherstich
Poetry of Protest: Tribes in Yemen’s ‘Change Revolution’, Steven C. Caton, Hazim Al-Eriyani, and Rayman Aryani
Part II: Beyond the Arab Spring: Asia and Africa
A Fractured Solidarity: Communitas and Structure in the Israeli 2011 Social Protest, Oren Livio and Tamar Katriel
‘Gandhi, Camera, Action!’ Anna Hazare and the 'Media Fold' in Twenty-First Century India, Christopher Pinney
Short Circuits: The Aesthetics of Protest, Media and Martydom in Indian Anti- Corruption Activism, Martin Webb
The Mother of all Strikes: Popular Protest Culture and Vernacular Cosmopolitanism in the Botswana Public Service Unions’ Strike, 2011, Pnina Werbner
Part III: Beyond the Arab Spring: American and European Protests
Vernacular Culture and Grassroots Activism: Non-violent Protest and Progressive Ethos at the 2011 Wisconsin Labor Rallies, Christine Garlough
Occupy Wall Street: Carnival Against Capital? Carnivalesque as Protest Sensibility, Claire Tancons
Subversion through Performance: Performance Activism in London, Paula Serafini
Spain's Indignados and the Mediated Aesthetics of Nonviolence, John Postill
The Poetics of Indignation in Greece: Anti-Austerity Protest and Accountability, Dimitrios Theodossopoulos
About the Contributors.

About the Author

Pnina Werbner is Professor Emerita of Social Anthropology, Keele University, and author of ‘The Manchester Migration Trilogy’, including The Migration Process: Capital, Gifts and Offerings among British Pakistanis (Berg Publishers (1990/2002), Imagined Diasporas among Manchester Muslims (2002) and Pilgrims of Love: the Anthropology of a Global Sufi Cult (2003). In 2008 she edited Anthropology and the New Cosmopolitanism: Rooted, Feminist and Vernacular Perspectives (2008), and is the editor of several theoretical collections on hybridity, multiculturalism, migration and citizenship. She has researched in Britain, Pakistan, and Botswana, and has directed major research projects on the Muslim South Asian, Filipino and African diasporas. Her forthcoming book is The Making of an African Working Class: Law, Politics and Cultural Protest (Pluto).

Martin Webb is Lecturer in anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research interests cross anthropology and development studies, with a particular focus on citizenship, transparency, accountability and urban anti-corruption activism. He carried out his doctoral research in Delhi, India, focusing on the role of class, social connection, and the politics of urban space in the city's transparency and accountability activism scene. He has published the role of rhetoric, representation and authenticity in activism and movement politics in India (Contemporary South Asia), and on transparency activism in India (Political and Legal Anthropology Review). His most recent publication on anti-corruption activism in India is (2013) Disciplining the Everyday State and Society? Anti-corruption and Right to Information Activism in Delhi. Contributions to Indian Sociology 47(3): 363–393.

Kathryn Spellman Poots is Associate Professor at Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations in London and Visiting Associate Professor at Columbia University and Academic Program Director for the MA in Islamic Studies. Her research interests include Muslims in Europe and North America, the Iranian diaspora, transnational migration and gender studies.


'An interesting overview of how in almost every part of the world, and in a period of only a few years, disruptive protest events came about.'
- Thijs van Dooremalen, Ethnography

This powerful collection of essays captures the breath-taking scale and creative depth of the wave of popular mobilisations which shook the world in 2011, illuminating aspects of these massive social movements which have been neglected in other accounts. The wide range of the case studies creates an invaluable comparative framework for future research.

- Anne Alexander, University of Cambridge

A fascinating collection for the insights it offers into the choreography of political protest movements around the world and the many connections between them.

- Emma Tarlo, Goldsmiths, University of London

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