Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2147711
 


 



Occupying the Political: Occupy Wall Street, Collective Action, and the Rediscovery of Pragmatic Politics


Daniel Kreiss


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Zeynep Tufekci


Princeton University - Center for Information Technology Policy; University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

September 17, 2012

Cultural Studies - Critical Methodologies, 13:3 (Forthcoming)

Abstract:     
In this paper we compare the institutional and strategic decision making structures of the civil rights movement with the Occupy movement with special emphasis on the role of self-expression as a political value versus strategic considerations. We argue that Occupy participants cast the values and form of the movement itself — how it operates and makes decisions — in terms that are synonymous with its very identity and survival. Occupy is the change that its members seek. There is both promise and peril in this approach. Occupy is finding it difficult to engage in institutional politics — which we argue is key to broad and durable societal transformations. We suggest that as Occupy goes home, and as it prepares to come back, it should renegotiate the tension between self-expression and strategic institutional action, and between movement itself as a goal and movement goals. In short, we argue that mistaking an anti-institutional style of participatory democracy and self-expression for both real democracy and radical capitalist critique undermines political power — and ultimately results in less progress towards participatory democracy as the movement becomes politically less relevant and less able to bring about societal change.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 13

Keywords: social movements, occupy, civil rights movement, collective action

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Date posted: September 18, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Kreiss, Daniel and Tufekci, Zeynep, Occupying the Political: Occupy Wall Street, Collective Action, and the Rediscovery of Pragmatic Politics (September 17, 2012). Cultural Studies - Critical Methodologies, 13:3 (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2147711

Contact Information

Daniel Kreiss
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Zeynep Tufekci (Contact Author)
Princeton University - Center for Information Technology Policy ( email )
C231A E-Quad
Olden St.
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States
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