Gramscian Perspectives on Protest and Passive Revolution

A World without Change? Gramscian perspectives on Protest and Passive Revolution

Call for Papers:
Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Chicago IL, April 21-25, 2015

Organizer: Andrew Brooks, King’s College London

Across cities, universities and workplaces around the world fierce, yet often short-lived, moments of political disturbance have emerged in recent years. Many of these revolts are triggered by the social and economic fallout of the financial crisis while others have emerged as forms of resistance to a range of other deep-seated forms of political domination. From a critical perspective these rebellions bring great interest and, in some instances, anticipation of a better future. Yet all too frequently the outcomes have led to a political impasse thereby supporting the claim that we are caught in a post-political condition – one that may stretch our understanding of the potential for radical popular political change. The theorisations of Antonio Gramsci offer a lens through which to analyse the particular combination of consent and coercion through which the opportunities for popular transformation come to be foreclosed. Major protest events that have outmanoeuvred the ruling group’s attempts to gain consent and coerce particular social groups have brought great excitement for theorists on the left.

Nevertheless, when what appear to be large-scale transformative episodes do occur subsequent analysis may show that their leadership is ultimately absorbed in the reproduction of existing social relations, ultimately producing a form of ‘passive revolution’ that leads to a further embedding of the global capitalist system of accumulation.

This session invites empirically rich papers that explore different forms of political protest from around the world, and which analyse protest movements and state responses from Gramscian and allied perspectives. Especially welcome are examples from the global south that have escaped widespread attention. Discussing a diverse geography of moments of protest and forms of passive revolution will help us explain the limits to change and identify new possibilities for democratic change within the current political moment.

Please email abstracts (of no more than 250 words) to Andrew Brooks by October 24, 2014.


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