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Reading: Who are the 99%? Identity, inclusion and division in the UK Occupy movement

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Who are the 99%? Identity, inclusion and division in the UK Occupy movement

Author:

Jacob Mukherjee

Goldsmiths College, University of London, GB
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Abstract

This essay is based on qualitative research into how activists in the UK Occupy movement understand their social and political identities, and those of the movement as a whole. The study found that – in contrast to the suggestions of the mainstream media – Occupy activists had a reasonably well-developed political and economic vision, combining ‘participatory democracy’ with ‘social justice’. In spite of the relative clarity of this vision, the essay argues that the Occupy movement's approach to strategy and communication was confused and ambiguous. This ambiguity is attributed to the fact Occupy activists seemed to lack a coherent sociopolitical identity that linked their political principles with their social identities and interests. This hindered the ability of the movement to achieve unity, and the willingness of activists to embrace a leadership role. These findings are discussed in relation to Donatella Della Porta's work on the ‘tolerant identities’ of today's social movement activists, as well as to Jodi Dean's arguments about the causes of the contemporary Left's ‘melancholy’.
How to Cite: Mukherjee, J., (2014). Who are the 99%? Identity, inclusion and division in the UK Occupy movement. JOMEC Journal. (6), p.None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2014.10289
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Published on 01 Nov 2014.
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