‘Peaceful’ Protests and the Legitimacy of Violent Potential

When I performed a Google search for “protests in Brazil” on April 4th, 2014, the second news article in the search results was titled, “Peaceful protests against Brazil World Cup continue,” from Euronews on March 28th. I was pleasantly surprised by the title, because I have searched this same phrase (“protests in brazil”) a number of times for my other research, and the focus of the titles is almost always on either the World Cup or on protest violence. While this article title did not deviate from an implicit discussion of violence (since the idea of “peaceful” must be newsworthy enough for it to appear in the title), it was nevertheless explicitly describing the protests as “peaceful.” Thishad to see. Continue reading

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Theorizing dis/placement

Since the only people who will see this website will probably be people from my class, it makes sense for me to introduce a signification-laden theoretical construct (in this case, “displacement”) and refer to a dense network class-specific meanings in a vague sort of way that leaves any “outside” readers in doubt. Right? That’s how all the “real” academics do it in academic journals… Right? And after all, the class has sort of constructed its own version of what the authors say since only a portion of students take time to do the readings each day… Right? Continue reading

“An” Understanding of Habermas and the Public Sphere

In my discussion of dis/placement violence in relation to “public” spaces, it might be helpful to figure out what exactly is meant by “public,” and in what context.

By two separate professors, I was directed toward the writings of Jürgen Habermas as the beginnings of a way to approach the idea of what is “public” and what is “private.” (I’m still not sure if this was the best advice, but at least I understand him enough to have a basis for my own criticism of current (neo)liberal constructions of publicness.) Here is my diagram the basic model of Habermas’ public sphere as I currently understand it, as he presents it in “The Public Sphere” as re/produced in Jürgen Habermas on Society and Politics, edited by Steven Seidman. Continue reading

“Just” a Student: A note on positionality and power

I am “just” a student, but as a student in a major public university in the United States, I have a lot of “power.” Below I have written a few thoughts that raise questions about my role as author of this website.

To begin with, I am literate and have a personal computer and internet access and grew up without fear of hunger and with reliable public infrastructure and with access to healthcare and without domestic abuse. I possess skills and knowledge that are fruit of my relatively bourgeois economic class; although I sense that I am generally much less affluent than the vast majority of my classmates, there is already a huge amount of affluence necessary to be here in the first place. I have traveled to Brazil twice – both times with some sort of scholarship or other form of assistance, but my ability to travel says something about my wealth and mobility. Continue reading