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SI0283 Lecture 11

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Robin Smith

on 3 May 2018

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Transcript of SI0283 Lecture 11

Lecture 11:
Social (dis)organisation:
change, alternatives and futures

This particular social minefield has been created by the combination of consumerism with rising inequality. This was not a rebellion or an uprising of famished and impoverished people or an oppressed ethnic or religious minority but a mutiny of defective and disqualified consumers, people offended and humiliated by the display of riches to which they had been denied access
(Bauman, 2011)
In Spain, Greece, Britain and America relatively small numbers of protesters made a big noise about the evils of capitalism; to me, though, the movement’s lasting gift was embodied in the very word “occupy.” The protests occurred in spaces where people did not belong, taking place in plazas (New York), church steps (London), or shopping malls (Madrid) where protesters had no right to assemble. The Occupy movements dramatised questions about public space — who owns it? who can use it? — and provided some surprising answers.
Richard Sennett http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/archives/27607
... social bonding during the experience may help explain why, when journalists asked, “what do you want? what’s your program, your policy?” the Occupiers often responded “you don’t get it.” The point in time became each other, by making a space where they didn’t belong into their own.

Richard Sennett http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/archives/27607
Occupy: contesting physical and virtual space
The London 'consumer riots' and the 'mediated crowd'
The use of new media, the synopticon and
Cities: globalisation, risk and securitisation
The exception paradox
The everyday rights and expectations of citizens are suspended in order to protect the everyday rights and expectations of citizens.
Urban space is increasingly organised against a perceived, omnipresent, yet ill defined threat.
impact upon the potential of public space as a site of realising the 'free space' of the public sphere (Habermas) and the 'right to the city' (Lefebvre, Harvey and Mitchell)
Globally circulated security strategies
Harvey, D. (2008). "The Right to the City". New Left Review 53:23–40.
“The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.”
'Yesterday's underdogs were non-producers, while today's underdogs are non-consumers'
Bauman (1995: 204)
New media and mediated protest
'Watching the watchers'
'Born digital' materials
The production of a 'free space'?
An experiment of alternative ways of doing participation and activism
Resisting exception, organic organisation and 'spontaneous rhythmicality' (Stavrides, 2013)
Brexit: Backlash against globalisation, 'white riot', or more complicated than that?
The Riots of the Underclass? (Tyler, 2013) http://www.socresonline.org.uk/18/4/6.html

White riot?
Who voted for Brexit?

There is no consistent correlation with income levels across the regions that might help explain these disparities in class terms. In 2014, the latest year for which data are published, gross disposable household income (GDHI) for Scotland—where the strongest regional vote for Remain was recorded—was £17,095 per head, which was below both the UK average of £17,965 and the England average of £18,315. Northern Ireland, which cast the third highest Remain vote, is the poorest UK region, with a GDHI of just £14,645. Wales's GDHI (£15,302) is less than all English regions except the North-East (£15,189), yet it recorded a higher Remain vote than seven out of nine English regions. London's Remain vote correlates with the highest GDHI in the country (£23,607) and the region with the second-highest GDHI, the South-East (£20,434), recorded the next-highest Remain vote. But the region with the third-highest GDHI, the East of England (£18,897), recorded a 56.5% Leave vote—higher than the North-West (£15,302) and Wales, both of which had a much lower GDHI. These latter regions also suffered more from the ravages of deindustrialization—as did Scotland and Northern Ireland. In fact, the East of England was the only region apart from London and the South-West to increase its share of the total UK GDHI since 1997, while the North West saw the largest decrease from 10.6% in 1997 to 9.7% in 2014.

Far from the presence of immigrants inclining people to vote Leave, the more ethnically diverse the area, the more likely it was to vote Remain.

[In] Lord Ashcroft's Brexit referendum exit poll:

of 12,369 voters, which is the largest sample we possess, 57% of people in social classes AB voted Remain, while 51% of those in class C1 voted Leave, rising to 64% in classes C2 and DE

The older the voters, the more likely they were to vote Leave. A majority of those aged over 45 (and 60% of those aged 65 and above) in Ashcroft's sample voted Leave, while 73% of those aged 18-24 and 62% of those aged 25-34 voted Remain.

Asked what was their biggest single reason for wanting to leave the EU, 49% of Leave voters responded "the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK" and 33% said leaving "offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders." The fact that 81% of Leave voters viewed multiculturalism, 80% immigration, and 69% globalization as "forces for evil" strongly suggests that these are simply codes for xenophobia. Leave voters were equally hostile to social liberalism (80%), the Green movement (78%), and feminism (74%).

both Leave and Remain voters regarded capitalism as a "force for evil" by the same slender majority of 51-49%
. Entry into and continued membership of the EU have proved a neuralgic point in British politics,
dividing imperial nostalgists, nationalists, Atlanticists, Europeanists, and globalists from
the 1950s onwards in different ways at different times;
. A growing disconnect between the natural governing parties in Westminster, their members
and their voters was reflected most recently in support for Scottish Nationalism and the United
Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP);
. The loss of respect for the ruling classes (e.g. for corruption, cronyism, sleaze) and a loss in
confidence among the ruling classes, enabled the disgruntled masses to enter politics as an
autonomous force, moving from passivity to making radical demands for change that were
countered by populist appeals;
. A legitimacy crisis as successive neoliberal projects failed to deliver nationwide prosperity
and, in addition, created conditions for fisco-financial crisis.
The organic crisis of the British State
(Jessop, 2017)
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