Protest in the Face of Catastrophe: Extinction Rebellion and the anti-politics of grief
Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a novel environmental movement formed in 2018 which uses non-violent civil disobedience to communicate the catastrophic severity of anthropogenic climate change, protest for urgent action to be taken by governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and advocate for the establishment of a Citizens’ Assembly to lead government policy on climate justice. This dissertation serves as a general ethnographic account of the movement and specifically analyses the process by which activists construct, sustain and perform their subjectivities through the use of grief and work of mourning. By exploring this complex process and the New Age outlook which informs it, in both the setting of a retreat workshop and street protests, I argue that XR activists are doomsayers who express and authenticate the truth of climate catastrophe through the performance of their own grieving subjectivities. I suggest in turn that this approach constitutes a highly emotive and humanistic form of anti-politics orientated towards the articulation of the truth against ‘the system’.
keywords: climate catastrophe, grief, doomsaying, subjectivity, anti-politics.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Jacob Seagrave
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