Accepted paper:

Crowds without a master (transnational approach between past and present)

Authors:

Yves Cohen (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales)

Paper short abstract:

Worldwide, crowds without a master formulate rational and insisting demands. They are not anymore these of the 20th Century, which were told they needed leaders. We will compare and follow circulations between countries, mobilize history as the crowds are doing in order to criticize it in practice.

Paper long abstract:

In the whole world, crowds without a master formulate accurate, rational and insisting demands. These crowds are not anymore these of the 20th Century, that they were told that they needed leaders. We will compare and follow circulations from one country to another and mobilize history as the crowds are doing to criticize it in practice. Other aspects have to be comparatively studied: the meaning of the city and its social uses, the aesthetical component of the actions, be it on one's body or on the city, as in Istanbul. One other aspect should be fully understood: none of these crowds was, nor is, "revolutionary" in the 20th Century meaning of the word, with a general program, a party, its military section, organized leaders. On the contrary, they were seeking efficiency without party or leaders, giving the new communication technologies all its inventive deployment. Dealing with such crowds is extremely difficult for the governments. The media are themselves trying to create representatives whereas, facing them, individuals refuse to stand as such. One can also reflect about the renewal of democracy. Why should not exist a twofold democracy: one side being a Weberian one, with leaders, and the other side being the vast and moving gathering of all movements stating democracy with their presence in the street, with their occupation of squares, etc.? This comparison in space and time lets appear a profound renewal of politics with new forms of expression for cultural or social groups defining themselves in the action.

panel P084
The worldwide urban mobilizations: conundrums of 'democracy', 'the middle class' and 'the people'. Supported by Focaal and the IUAES Commission on Global Transformation and Marxian Anthropology