Taking great pains: the affective politics of radical democracy

Amsler, Sarah (2012) Taking great pains: the affective politics of radical democracy. In: British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2012, 11th - 13th April 2012, University Of Leeds.

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One response to the newest rounds of ‘austerity’ policies implemented by governments around the world has been a turn towards non-representational forms of political practice which seek simultaneously to be autonomous from state and capital, and to create radically democratic modes of existence. Whilst such projects are grounded in diverse philosophies of knowledge and practice, many share a faith in the power of critical knowledge and cultural work that prefigures alternative futures. We have thus seen a proliferation of ideas being produced about the importance of critique, autonomy, self-valorisation, ‘becoming minor’, transformation and critical pedagogy. However, what often remains invisible behind the closed doors of ‘safe spaces’ and the messiness of oppositional practices are the often complex affective politics and subjective labour that such practices demand. Based on a preliminary analysis of on-going research with cultural workers, political activists and popular educators, this paper offers some insight into how those working to oppose the logics of neoliberalism, reduce the systemic impacts of economic ‘austerity’ and create alternative, radically democratic ways of life actually experience this work. It will also consider how this understanding can inform the development of more sustainable and inclusive forms of critical practice and radical democracy.

Keywords:affect, radical democracy, critical theory, politics of possibility, post-capitalist politics
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L370 Social Theory
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
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ID Code:5676
Deposited On:24 May 2012 18:33

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