Affectivity and Liminality in Ritualized Protest: Politics of Transformation in the Kiev Uprising

Bjørn Thomassen, Mie Scott Georgsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article takes departure from recent events in Kiev, Ukraine. The empirical material builds on interviews and informal talks with young protesters, made online or on location during spring 2014. We argue that the uprisings – some call it a revolution – involve all essential features of liminality: suspension of ordinary rules, a fundamental questioning of power structures and political legitimacy, an order turned upside-down, a situation marked by volatility, ambivalence and potentiality, and the embryonic formation of a communitas as protestors met and mobilized on the Independence Square in ritualized action, unified by confronting the same essential dangers. Engaging this social drama we further wish to discuss how affectivity plays a central role in the ritualization of protest – and that subjectivity and affectivity, as relatively unformed potentials, bring qualities of heightened suggestibility to this particular hotspot.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)198-214
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2017

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