Protests

GIULIA CARABELLI

The Ties That (un)Bind: Affect and Organisation in the Bosnia-Herzegovina Protests, 2014

“In this lecture, I will discuss the results of my research on the 2014 mass protests in Bosnia Herzegovina. Overall, I am interested in accounting for the production and articulation of these spaces of rebellion by considering their ‘affective atmospheres’, which means that I am curious about the effects that affect have in the production of socio-spatial relations. In particular, I look at rage, anger, but especially hope as a means to understand how spaces of “togetherness” came to be created during the protests in a country where both “being together” and “occupying public spaces” represent major political and social issues in their own right. I will discuss the extent to which becoming hopeful is also a reason for disappointment, discontent and for the creation of fractures within the movement.

Overall, my goal is to discuss the potential of looking at affects such as hope to account for and explore grassroots protests and radical political movements: how they come into being, how they become movements for creating new spaces of togetherness, but also divisions and fractures; to create and sustain, but also destroy infrastructures of togetherness. Hope begins from encounters and it brings about the question of how new possibilities can be born from these encounters, which involve multiple processes of mediation, negotiation, explanation. And yet, these sites of hope, such as the protests in Bosnia, are the potential signposts that an alternative exists. As Helena Flam argues, we should pay attention to the ways in which protest movements attempt to re-socialise people through (subversive) emotions in order to show that to be angry and to voice concerns is fair and legitimate.”

– Giulia Carabelli