Accepted paper:

Protest and radical cultural difference


Alex Flynn (UCL)

Paper short abstract:

Through an ethnographic case study of protest in Brazil, this paper seeks to explore how we can productively theorise cultural differences within the context of interconnections created by global political economic relationships.

Paper long abstract:

This paper suggests that productive dimensions of protest are premised upon the actions, thoughts, and creativity of actors who see themselves as radically culturally different from certain others, but also recognize that their lives are inextricably interlinked with those other peoples and with wider global processes. Developed through an ethnographic case study in Brazil, the paper explores how understandings of protest can be expressed in ways which reflect how cultural difference is perceived; within wider patterns of interconnection or as the result of artificially constructed images of total cultural quarantine and separation. One approach can hold core values of the protest as unchangeable and can seek to create perceptions of radical cultural difference between those who 'believe' and those who don't. Another approach can rely more upon constructing partnerships and relationships with those outside protest circles, seeking to include any imagined other in the discourse of change. The paper argues that ideology and difference remain at the heart of notions of protest and yet are opposed in a wider politics of inclusion.

panel P42
Difference in an interconnected world