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Political Research Exchange

Containment or Contagion: The Spatio-Temporal Dynamics and Transnational Underpinnings of Protest

Presenter
Ari-Elmeri Hyvönen
University of Jyväskylä
Authors
Ari-Elmeri Hyvönen
University of Jyväskylä

Abstract
The paper will look at the events of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street from a transnational and a global perspective. The examination builds on two conceptual pairs, one spatial and one temporal. Firstly, the dynamics of contagion/containment will be discussed from the point of view of the actors involved as well as that of “spectators” – such as the EU in the case of the Arab uprisings. Secondly, attention will be paid to the temporal framing of the events in question through the distinction – drawn from Hannah Arendt – of processes and new, unpredictable, beginnings. From both angles, the internal-external nexus plays an important role. Thus, I will examine public statements of both actors actively engaged in the protests and those observing them from outside. By using tools provided by frame analysis, I will examine (a) whether the actors involved in different protests connected their activities to a mutual frame or a set of frames; and (b) if, and how, the interpretation of the events differed between the local actors and global/regional powers (especially in the case of the Arab Spring and the reactions of the European Union and its member states). The emphasis in regards to the first question is placed on the meanings given to the events by the actors, with special attention to the imageries and practices of radical democracy instantiated in the events. The second question then attempt to examine, whether there are dissonances between these meanings, and those given to the events by outside powers.
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