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Quiet encroachment of the ordinary

Asef Bayat, Life as politics, how ordinary people change the middle east, Stanford university press, Stanford California 2010.

 » As present agents in the public space, the young recognize shared identity by noticing (seing) collective symbols inscribed, for instance, in styles (T-shirts, blue jeans, hairstyle), types of activities (attending particular concerts and music stores, and hanging around shopping malls-, and places (stadiums, hiking trails, street corners). When young persons develop a particular consciousness about themselves as youth and begin to defend or extend their youth habitus, their youthfulness in a collective fashion, a youth movement can be said to have developed. Where political repression curtails organized activism, youth may form nonmovements.
(…) youth « nonmovements » may augment change by their very public presence. With their central preoccupation with « cultural production » of lifestyles, the young may fashion new social norms, religious practices, cultural codes or values, without needing structured organization leadership, or ideologies. This is because youth nonmovements are, I would suggest, characterized less by what the young do (networking, organizing, deploying resources, mobilizing) than by how they are (in behaviors, outfits, ways of speaking and walking, in private and public spaces). The identity of a youth nonmovement is based not as much on collective doing as on collective being ; and the forms of their expression are less collective protest than collective presence.



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