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Ordinary DemocracySovereignty and Citizenship Beyond the Neoliberal Impasse$
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Ali Aslam

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190601812

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190601812.001.0001

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Out of the Ordinary

Out of the Ordinary

(p.52) 2 Out of the Ordinary
Ordinary Democracy

Ali Aslam

Oxford University Press

The second chapter considers the role of documentary in the Occupy Movement in helping citizens perceive how their ordinary lives are the products of political and economic forces and might be constructed differently. Documentary practices include the use of YouTube, Tumblr, and Twitter to record the experiences of the self-styled 99 percent. By producing an archive of individual suffering, Occupy generated spaces for citizens to apprehend how the ideal of sovereignty promised to them had been sacrificed to preserve the sovereignty of large financial insitutions, economic stability, and growth. By publicizing these personal sacrifices, Occupy’s documentary archive enabled citizens to form mutual attachments around admissions of vulnerability rarely tenable as the basis for solidarity. These new associations diverged from the discourse of self-reliance that feeds into support for emergency powers by allowing citizens to question the invocations of necessity that justified their sacrifices.

Keywords:   Occupy, 99 percent, personal sacrifices, documentary practices, solidarity, mutual attachments, vulnerability, emergency powers, necessity

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