Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Catching a glimpse of the future: on the imaginative effects of direct action  
Stine Krøijer (Copenhagen University)

Paper long abstract:

Is there a paralysis of imagination on the left? Based on fieldwork among left radical activists in Northern Europe, this paper will discuss the form imagination takes during two direct actions:

At NATO's 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg clashes developed between activists and police. The paper will describe a moment in which a group of activists is kettled (police jargon for an interim imprisonment) while blockading the summit. Activists are physically compressed between several lines of French and German riot police, and the compressed bodies momentarily become site of a different world.

The second action is a routine dumpster-dive to forage for food that has been disposed of by a Supermarket in Copenhagen. The paper will describe the spark-like experience of being able to reconfigure daily life that emerges in the context of dumpstering for food.

Seen from within the dumpster and from the perspective of the compressed bodies, imagination cannot be considered free-floating fantasy (Graeber 2009). In this light, the paper will engage with a recent critique of the concept of imagination and its employment in anthropology (Sneath et. al. 2009). Imagination of the future is understood as an effect elicited, but not fully conditioned by, bodily technologies or styles. This suggests that imaginary effects do not need to amount to a whole and if so, then, only momentarily. I will argue that the disjuncture between the present and the future and the glimpse-like quality of imagination is an ontological feature of political action among left radical activists.

Panel IW005
Imagination, crisis and hope, or, do futures have a future?
  Session 1