Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Democracy & Popular Protest seminar: Age of Dissent: Representations of Youth Protest in 2010/11

23 February 2012 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm | Seminar

E C Stoner Building, Seminar Room 9.90

The Centre for Democratisation Studies is running a series of lectures and discussions on the theme of  DEMOCRACY AND POPULAR PROTEST

This meeting will consist of a talk (followed by questions and discussion) by:

Dr. Jonathan Dean (Lecturer in Political Theory, POLIS, University of Leeds)


Jonathan has provided the following synopsis of his talk:

Many academic commentators and journalists have argued that, after a period of relative quietude, 2010-2011 witnessed upsurge of protest, activism and resistance by a generation of newly politicised young people in the UK, encompassing a wide variety of demands for social, economic and intergenerational justice.

This paper focuses not so much on these new forms of resistance themselves, but on representations of them in both mainstream and activist media. Specifically, I focus upon the different ways in which both media commentators and activists themselves frame the historical significance (or otherwise) of these new forms of activism.

Via a close reading of a select range of representative texts, I map the different ways in which new forms of resistance are compared and contrasted with earlier outbreaks of protest and activism (particularly the upheavals associated with “1968”). Broadly speaking, I highlight three different strategies of representation/comparison of current forms of activism with earlier periods.

These are: narratives of dismissal (whereby current forms of protest are framed as inconsequential or insignificant compared to earlier manifestations), narratives of revitalisation (whereby current protests are framed as rekindling a dormant radical spirit) and narratives of novelty (in which current forms of activism are framed as significant, but radically dissimilar to early incarnations). By examining the different narrative techniques that are used to frame the historical significance (or otherwise) of new forms of protest, I argue that comparisons with the past are fundamental both to how activists perceive their own activities, and how youth protest is understood and responded to in popular discourse.

Location Details

E C Stoner Building, Seminar Room 9.90

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