As to more fully grab what is happening in Brazil
Few weeks ago SPW has disseminated through its Facebook page the new IDS Working Paper The Changing Faces of Citizen Action: A Mapping Study through an ‘Unruly’ Lens (http://www.sxpolitics.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ids-working-paper-on-unruly-politics.pdf), which speaks of Brazilian contemporary experience of citizenship struggles. Furthermore the Working Paper also includes critical comments by Sonia Corrêa, SPW co-chair. Since this first round of dissemination, however, a wide and complex swell of street politics has swept across Brazilian cities. While the working paper will be soon translated into Portuguese we thought it productive to immediate expand its outreach, if nothing else because the ideas developed in the central paper as well as the commentaries elaborated by Corrêa, Ute Stella, and Shahrukh Alam dialogue, in a variety of ways, with the process underway in Brazil whose interpretations are as complex and contradictory as the event itself.
The excerpts below provide a glimpse on these insights.
From Akshay Khanna, Priyashri Mani, Zachary Patterson, Maro Pantazidou and Maysa Shqerat
“Unruly politics, as we define it, is political action by people who have been denied voice by the rules of the political game, and by the social rules that underpin this game. It draws its power from transgressing these rules – while at the same time upholding others, which may not be legally sanctioned but which have legitimacy, deeply rooted in people’s own understandings of what is right and just. This preoccupation with social justice distinguishes these forms of political action from the banditry or gang violence with which threatened autocrats willfully try to associate them. Far from promoting state disintegration, these forms of unruly political action can lead to fairer, cleaner or simply better government…We live in cynical times. It is as though to speak politics is to speak an untruth already. It is possible today to implement policies of dispossession in the garb of a policy of empowerment… In this context perhaps, happenings in squares in Tunisia and Egypt, in Greece and Spain, even in the streets of Delhi [we may add of Brazilian cities] are the call by citizens to a return to a true politics, where cynicism is recognized for what it is and where the truth of power can be spoken and acted.”
From Sonia Corrêa
[In speaking of events] “one unequivocal reference is Gilles Deleuze definition of ‘evénement’ in his 1966 book “The Logic of Meaning” (La logique du sens,1966), At the core of Deleuze’s conception lies the distinction, originally crafted by Roman stoic philosophers, between serial ‘facts’ inscribed in temporality (chronos) from ‘events’ that assume an extratemporal signification (aion). Deleuze’s ‘event’ radically alters the order of signification: what made sense until the present becomes totally indifferent or even opaque, and what makes sense now did not have any meaning before. In Zourabichvili words Deleuze’s philosophy discloses the primordial link between time and meaning.. Social scientists when wrestling with events while keeping at hand their classical overarching frames and methods must refine their lenses as to grab the ‘event’ fundamentally as ‘a rupture of intelligibility’ because as noted by Bensa and Fassin when we are ordinarily immersed in a social, cultural and political environment we “do know what is going on”, or ‘ça va sans dire’, literally, ,- ‘it goes without saying’. In contrast, the ‘event’ makes us a plunge into an extraordinary regime of perception, sentiment and thought. This extraordinariness suspends, even when temporarily, the usual weight of context and structure.”