Emotions and Movement Identity: Emotional Boundaries in Memories of the Global Justice Movements in Italy, Germany, and Poland

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 8:50 AM
Room: 411
Oral Presentation
Priska DAPHI , Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Collective memories play a crucial role in movement identity. Next to providing a sense of continuity, these narratives draw emotionally loaded boundaries that distinguish the movement from the outside as well as provide internal differentiations. This paper examines the emotions activists of the Global Justice Movements in Italy, Germany, and Poland attach to boundaries drawn in collective memories. Which emotions are attached to internal boundaries, which to external ones? How does this differ across different constellations of the Global Justice Movement in Europe?

The analysis draws on 48 narrative interviews conducted with Italian, German, and Polish activists in 2011 and 2012. Italy, Germany, and Poland constitute different constellations of the movement with respect to actors, repertoires, and size. The analysis shows that a broad range of emotions are linked to boundaries across countries. In particular, it reveals that the relation between emotions attached to internal and external boundaries varies with the degree of movement cohesion. In constellations with a high degree of movement cohesion emotions attached to external boundaries clearly differ from those attached to internal boundaries: feelings such as mistrust and anger are linked to the first, while trust and sympathy predominate in the second.  When cohesion is lacking, emotions linked to external and internal boundaries either converge or are reversed.