Below are a couple short videos on Occupy. “Occupy Wall Street: the story behind seven months of protest,” by filmmaker Kat Keene Hogue (Guardian), impressively sums up the first seven months of Occupy action worldwide, with great graphics based on a range of ethnographic data (e.g., twitter feeds, original posters, etc.). The other video, “Nobody Can Predict the Moment of Revolution,” by Iva Radivojevic and Martyna Starosta, was shot in Zuccotti/Liberty Park during the 5th and 6th days of the encampment. A range of occupiers talk about what drew them to the park.
In analytic terms, there are many ways to approach the videos. With Goffman (and maybe Mead) fresh in your minds, you might view them through a symbolic interactionist lens. Appropriately, what we’re looking at here are demonstrations, and “demonstrators” — these people are publicly demonstrating their political point of view. So this is about communication, as well as interpretation, which is the prime territory of symbolic interactionism.
How are the participants communicating their message? How well, i.e., is effective communication happening? Who’s the audience? Who are the protesters? How would you categorize them socially, if you had to sort them into meaningful social categories? Reflect on the information you’re using to sort people.
“Occupy Wall Street: the story behind seven months of protest,” Kat Keene Hogue, Guardian