Theorizing Occupy

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


5 responses to “Theorizing Occupy

  1. Occupy Wall Street is only a preview of how much worse things could get. In London they also had strikes which were in fact more severe than they were here. Both standing up their rights and what they belive and trying to strike against the inequality that these people in these countries are feeling. The video shown in class of what occured in London can definitely happen here, its just a matter of time at this point. Watching the second video, i found it terrible how the police were spraying protestors on Wall Street with pepper spray. Who gives them the right to stand there and start spraying people, the protestors were not violating any rights and should not have been sprayed like that as if they are nothing in this world.

  2. I agree because when I watched the video it showed how the people of London viewed their feelings about unemployment and education rates increasing which made gangs of people attack the police by throwing any type of objects at them but can understand that they are standing up for their rights. It also showed how some of the people who were being interviewed felt sorry for the civilians who were being hurt by the action of the protestors. I feel this can happen here in the United States because there is always gonna be people dealing with an issue that they don’t agree with and gonna do everything in their will to achieve that goal.

  3. I happen to personally disagree with the viewpoints in the video, mainly because I am one of those people who are against “Occupy”, and like to play devil’s advocate now and then. Now I understand that people should and have to step up and speak their minds, I just feel that in this case the people protesting at “Occupy” all around the globe have the wrong idea. First of all what separates the 99% from the 1% in my eyes is that those who are part of the 1% were determined, had the drive, and the discipline to get them where they are today. The 99% should not be condemning those who are more fortunate we should be celebrating them and finding a way to change our own fates because lets be honest occupying a place is not going to just strike you rich. Lastly, one other idea that this video made flow through my mind, which makes you wonder is that every person’s success is the expense of someone else’s failure. It may not be the most enlightening theory, but in order for one person to make money or succeed someone else has to fail and thus we are left with the 1% and the 99%, therefore in order to make a difference one must find or make a way to change their fate.

  4. The strikes in London have been far worse than they have been in America when it comes to Occupy Wall Street, but it gives one some insight on just how bad protests and strikes can become. Occupy Wall Street has the ability to become as violent as the London protests. but not everyone understands that because not everyone is aware about just how bad it got in London

  5. I am happy that this video was posting up of the beginning of the Occupy Movement. It is about time that people step up to what they believe in and speak even when nobody wants to listen, media still need to give them attention. I mean the movement in New York do not compare to what is happening globally, it can get to the state if only people would stop being afriad of word like class war-f, m, I completely understand why so many college student do not care or try to understand why people are doing this. It is not ultimately about the 1% vs. the 99% but the unequality to have mobility in the working class to even get to the middle-class. We can argue “that the 99% should not be condemning those (1%) who are more fortunate, we should be celebrating them” but being fortunate and just stealing money without letting anyone such opportunities is just wrong.

    Some people should go to some events and hear people out. What if you were in the same perdicatment as most of the people living in this nation. Was this not the land that promised equal opportunities, where did that go, what does lady liberty stand for now?

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