9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN25 Social Movements

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Local Activism Building I, 1E3

The suburb and the event. Depoliticization and new forms of youth subjectivity in Dublin's deprived suburban neighbourhoods.

This title refers to an ongoing doctoral research that contemplates two main areas of study: on one hand, the worldwide spreading phenomenon of depoliticization and on the other hand, the emerging of new forms of youth political subjectivation, especially in European suburban metropolitan areas. Aim of the study is to understand if the Republic of Ireland, with an explicit reference to Dublin, posses some specific characters of this depoliticization and subjectivation processes.
In Ireland the contemporary crisis of the political parties, that is to say of the "par excellence" modern political subject, has affected also other political organizations. These organizations "just like parties" are visibly turning into bureaucratic apparatuses coextensive to the State, disconnected from the population and almost devoid of a genuine political content. A representative example can be found in the way so called "community based activism" has recently displaced its independency with a movement towards regularized organizational standards and engagement in partnership. This sort of "normalization" has worked against the very foundation of community activism, i.e., a political aspiration to social change against the wishes of the status quo.
The philosopher Alain Badiou - a main theoretical reference in this research - would probably interpret this problem with the idea of an inescapable contradiction opposing political subjectivity and the State. In fact, according to Badiou, the State in itself is an apolitical and inegalitarian metastructure, that has no independent rationality. For him only an independent political subjectivity, decentralized with respect to the State, can deal with its objectivity transforming it in a positive field for inventive and egalitarian possibilities.
Inspired by the novelty of the extraordinary forms of antagonism recently performed by youths in various European cities, I have conducted fieldwork in suburban areas of Dublin, using qualitative data collection methods. Preliminary results highlight the emergence of new forms of youth political subjectivation and resistance to normalization. Empirical evidence shows that these practices are in particular enacted trough deliberated acts of conflict and trough new organizational configurations, like the creation of autonomous and independent ?spaces? where to develop practices and thoughts at a distance from state's totalization.