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Street politics

Street politics and political street in Asef BayatLife as politics, how ordinary people change the middle east, Stanford university press, Stanford California 2010.

« The contentious politics I have outlined so far are produced and expressed primarily in urban settings. Indeed, urban public space continues to serve as the key theater of conventions. When people are deprived from the electoral power to change things, they are likely to resort their own institutional clout (as students and workers going on strike) to bring collective pressure to bear on authorities to undertake change. But for those urban subjects (such as the unemployed, housewives, and the « informal people ») who structurally lack intuitional power of disruption (such as going on strike) the « street » becomes the ultimate arena to communicate discontent. This kind of street politics describes a set of conflicts, and the attendant implications, between an individual or a collective populace and the authorities, which are shaped and expressed in the physical and social space of the streets, from the back alleyways to the more visible streets and squares. Here conflict originates from theactive use of public space by subjects who, in the modern states, are allowed to use it only passively – through walking, driving, watching – or in other ways that the state dictates. Any active or participative use infuriates officials, who see themselves as the sole authority to establish and control public order. Thus, the street vendors who proactively spread their business in the main alleyways ; squatters who take over public parks, lands, or sidewalks ; youth who control the street corner spaces, street children who establish street communities ; poor housewives who extend their daily household activities into >>>

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