Mobilization and Performance in the Public Space in 2011: A Comparative Approach

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 9:30 AM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
José M. PÉREZ-AGOTE , Sociology, Public University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
From the Tunisian Revolution onwards the increase in social mobilizations around the world shows not only a significant shift in the political sphere but also some heavy evidence of social change.  Young people, who have been at the center of those mobilizations, are especially susceptible to provide evidence of change when cultural, moral or attitudinal issues are involved.  Furthermore, such mobilizations possess significant symbolic and cultural dimensions, and constitute fusion experiences in which a great charismatic power, able to trigger off social and cultural change, is generated.

These experiences may or may not have a ritual nature. According to J. Alexander, in the less complex and differentiated societies, social cohesion is generated by rituals, understood as periodical repetition of symbolic interaction in which participants fuse in the whole.  However, in more complex and differentiated contemporary societies, the ritual is unable to keep fusion by itself, thus allowing for social performance to achieve the re-fusion of those social elements no longer cohesive.

The main goal of this paper is to approach some of these mobilizations in which youth occupied the streets as social performances, and to explore its consequences for social change. The four 2011 cases to be analysed are: the Egyptian Revolution, the Spanish Revolution (15-m), the London riots and the Youth World Day in Madrid (JMJ/YWD). They are analyzed following the basic elements that shape social performances: actors, audience, collective representations, means of symbolic production, mise-an-scène and power