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Cultural Activism

Practices, Dilemmas, and Possibilities

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This volume addresses contemporary activist practices that aim to interrupt and reorient politics as well as culture. The specific tactics analyzed here are diverse, ranging from culture jamming, sousveillance, media hoaxing, adbusting, subvertising, street art, to hacktivism, billboard liberation, and urban guerilla, to name but a few. Though indebted to the artistic and political movements of the past, this form of activism brings a novel dimension to public protest with its insistence on humor, playfulness, and confusion. This book attempts to grasp both the old and new aspects of contemporary activist practices, as well as their common characteristics and internal varieties. It attempts to open up space for the acknowledgement of the ways in which contemporary capitalism affects all our lives, and for the reflection on possible modes of struggling with it. It focuses on the possibilities that different activist tactics enable, the ways in which those may be innovative or destructive, as well as on their complications and dilemmas. The encounter between the insights of political, social and critical theory on the one hand and activist visions and struggles on the other is urgent and appealing. The essays collected here all explore such a confrontational collaboration, testing its limits and productiveness, in theory as well as in practice. In a mutually beneficial relationship, theoretical concepts are rethought through activist practices, while those activist practices are developed with the help of the insights of critical theory. This volume brings scholars and activists together in the hope of establishing a productive dialogue between the theorizations of the intricacies of our times and the subversive practices that deal with them.

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