Spatial affects and imitations in OWS and Distortion: When Politics and Aesthetics meet

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In sociology and cultural geography, recent years have brought about a focus upon social processes bypassing individual consciousness and rational power of judgment. Instead, affective production and imitation could be terms describing the socio-material processes in urban space.

Through the notions of affect (Thrift 2008, Ash & Amin 2002, Anderson & Holden 2008) and imitation (Tarde 1903), the paper will discuss recent urban crowd movements.

OWS has spread a global social activist movement using affective bodily means of communication, whereas Distortion is a cultural street festival taking place in Copenhagen. However different in their contextual frame and outset, the paper seeks to discuss similarities of these urban movements in terms of affects and imitations.

I suggest that despite of the differences, these urban movements operate and materialize in urban space in the same affective manner. For instance, both crowds do not merely gather and organize in terms of verbal communication, rather they organize virally, visually and through bodily affects and imitation. In that sense they appropriate urban space and its architectural design ”like viruses that hop between people, thereby affecting them” (Massumi 2002, Pile 2007). Thus these movements indicate urban space as a relational and affective space emerging from the social and the material components of the city.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventDansk sociologkongres 2012: Troubled Identity - Aarhus Universitet, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 19 Jan 201220 Jan 2012


ConferenceDansk sociologkongres 2012
LocationAarhus Universitet
Internet address

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