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Sensuous Solidarities: Emotion, Politics and Performance in the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army

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Abstract:  This paper is concerned with the political performance of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) during the protests against the G8 meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005. In particular, the paper is concerned with how emotional experiences within political moments or events can be constituted through performances that fashion “sensuous solidarities”. Sensuous solidarities are generated through diverse bodily movements and techniques, and are indicative of both the performative character of activist subjectivities and the content of activists’ public (political) performances. Reflecting on my participation in CIRCA, this paper will argue that sensuous solidarities constituted a series of complex, contradictory and emotive co-performances and resonances with police, other protestors and the public and in doing so will consider the efficacy of those forms of activism that Duncombe (2007, Dream: Reimagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy. London: The New Press) has termed “ethical spectacles”.

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