Short Circuits: The Aesthetics of Protest, Media and Martyrdom in Indian Anti-corruption Activism

Webb, Martin. 2014. Short Circuits: The Aesthetics of Protest, Media and Martyrdom in Indian Anti-corruption Activism. In: Pnina Werbner; Martin Webb and Kathryn Spellman-Poots, eds. The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univerity Press, pp. 193-221. ISBN 9780748693344 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Published in Association with the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations
Explores the aesthetic dimensions of the Arab Spring and the protest movements that followed
From Egypt to India, and from Botswana to London, worker, youth and middle class rebellions have taken on the political and bureaucratic status quo and the privilege of small, wealthy and often corrupt elites at a time when the majority can no longer earn a decent wage.

A remarkable feature of the protests from the Arab Spring onwards has been the salience of images, songs, videos, humour, satire and dramatic performances. This book explores the central role the aesthetic played in energising the mass mobilisations of young people, the disaffected, the middle classes, the apolitical silent majority, as well as enabling solidarities and alliances among democrats, workers, trade unions, civil rights activists and opposition parties.

Comparing the North African and Middle Eastern uprisings with protest movements such as Occupy, the authors bring to bear an anthropological and sociological approach from a variety of perspectives, illuminating the debate by drawing on a wide array of disciplinary expertise.

Key Features
Includes over 150 colour illustrations showing how visual media is used in protest movements across the globe
Shares perspectives from political, media, visual, economic and linguistic anthropology, and the anthropology of work, art, social organisation and social movement
Looks at the use of social networking and new media technologies such as Twitter
Case studies include
Protests about regime change in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Russia
Corruption in India
The demise of the welfare state in Spain, Israel and Greece
The living wage in Botswana and Wisconsin
The financial crisis and corporate greed and the Occupy movement in British and American cities
Published in association with The Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.

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30 July 2014Published

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11 Apr 2016 13:14

Last Modified:

09 Mar 2021 16:19


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