Local Differences in a Global Movement: The Failure of Occupy Dame Street to Resonate with the Irish Community.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Robert MACDONALD, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland
This paper examines Occupy Dame Street, the Irish manifestation of the global occupy movement, and its failure to resonate with local publics. While many ask how modern global waves of contention are constituted, little is asked of the local experience of these transnational movements. Less is asked regarding community perceptions of these emerging groups. In 2011 the Occupy movement grabbed global media attention with the rapid mobilisation of encampments around the world. Some utilised this media attention, others failed to capitalise on this source of pubic information. These encampments were interconnected but neither homogeneous nor homologous. This paper will argue that modern waves of contention are profoundly shaped by specific local socio-historical conditions. For Occupy Dame Street, for example, both Irelands political culture and mainstream media informed public perceptions of Irish Occupy activists. Occupy Dame Street struggled to raise their profile, failing to gain greater public endorsement. The anti-institutional logic of the Irish protestors also served to widen the gap between themselves and potential audiences and collaborators from civil society. Occupy Dame Street failed to successfully connect with local political concerns and was unsuccessful in its media campaign. While modern movements may mobilise into ‘transnational’ waves of contention, the actions, public reception and, ultimately, success or failure of their local manifestations are shaped profoundly by specific, local socio-historical contexts.