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Democracy in a Time of MiseryFrom Spectacular Tragedies to Deliberative Action$
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Nicole Curato

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198842484

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198842484.001.0001

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Contestatory Publics

Contestatory Publics

(p.67) 5 Contestatory Publics
Democracy in a Time of Misery

Nicole Curato

Oxford University Press

Contestatory publics refer to the arena of confrontational claim-making which demands responsiveness and accountability to decision-makers. They are confrontational as far as they aggressively lay blame on parties they consider to be the cause of their suffering. Beyond critique, they also offer alternative visions for reconstruction by drawing on their experiences as communities who suffered from the disaster. The repertoire used in their contestations are visceral. In protests, public displays of grief, and emotional speeches, the weight of claims are established through performances of mourning and indignation. For contestatory publics, misery has a productive political power. This chapter focuses on the case of People Surge, a network of peasants, fisherfolk, urban poor communities, students, and members of religious organizations which led protest action in exceptionally challenging circumstances.

Keywords:   disasters, ethnography, emotions, democracy, deliberative democracy, public sphere, protests, social movements, climate justice

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