June 28, 2018

Workshop: Taking A Stand- Intimate Relations and Public Dissent

28th-29th  June 2018

School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

This workshop asked: What are the conditions and possibilities of dissent? How can we understand those moments when people take a public stand, often at great personal risk? Such acts can be understood as attempts to take a position of principle in the face of particular political regimes. However, commitments are never just political abstractions, but are also produced and take shape through intimate relations of obligation and affect. Dissidents are not simply people of public ideals, but also enmeshed in other, sometimes contradictory aspirations and relationships. We can only understand the intensity of their commitments, as well as the risks they face, if we also understand these intimate ties. The social world of dissidents and activists is often a place of especially intense sociality: dissent therefore also involves the making (and breaking) specific attachments of kinship, friendship and loyalty. And furthermore, the forms of solidarity and inequality that mark these relationships can also run through acts of dissent. The act of publicly taking a stand should therefore be treated as a multi-layered, and usually deeply intimate, phenomenon. Participants included: Carole McGrannahan, Doreen Lee, Erica Weiss, Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic, Harini Amarasuriya, Jonathan Spencer, Serra Hakyemez, Sidharthan Maunaguru, Tobias Kelly