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Live Recording  
Resisting Populism: Memes, Extreme Speech, and the Aesthetics of Affect and Defiance
Simone Pfeifer (Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz)
Lene Faust (University of Bern)
Cathrine Bublatzky (Heidelberg University)
Shireen Walton (University College London)
Time zone:
Wednesday 22 July, 8:30-10:15

Short abstract:

In this panel, we want to bring together anthropologists reflecting on media forms and aesthetics of resisting populism.

Long abstract:

A growing number of anthropologists have focused on the rise of populism in Euro-America and globally (e.g. Bangstad et. al. 2019; Mazzucato 2019; Brubaker 2017). Foregrounding extreme speech on social media at the center of such developments, Udupa/Pohjonen (2019) point to the role of ecosystems of exclusionary and violent speech, fake news, disinformation campaigns, and troll attacks. In this panel we take the circulation of media, visual and aesthetic practices as a starting point to investigate the resisting potential of populism in its double sense. First, we want to look at the affective media practices and aesthetics that are at stake in populism in its wide sense. Secondly, and more importantly, we ask who are the actors and what are the strategies and aesthetics to resist and defy populist mediations and politics? We invite ethnographic and interdisciplinary theoretical contributions that focus on the theme 'resisting populism' in a broad sense and point to the aesthetic practices, strategies, techniques and logics that are at work in (inter)national networks, online and offline. Possible themes are: Advantages and challenges of doing ethnography on resisting populisms in media and aesthetics in the era of 'post-factual' and 'post-truth' environment. Artistic and activist interventions relating to populism and more extreme forms such as hate speech. Memes as an aesthetic form of fun, nonsense, and humor to resist populism. Alternative forms of populism and how they employ similar infrastructures to resist extreme online phenomena and live streaming of terror on social media platforms.

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