Making relations and performing politics: an ethnographic study of climate justice in Scotland with So We Stand

Franks, Aaron (2013) Making relations and performing politics: an ethnographic study of climate justice in Scotland with So We Stand. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This ethnographic study, informed by the “cuts” of relational space and performance, chronicles the improvisation by the small UK social movement So We Stand of an expansive yet locally relevant ‘climate justice’ politics in the Central Belt of Scotland. Having been an embedded participant/observer in So We Stand (SWS) from August 2009 to November 2010, I draw from various materials – academic literature, extensive notes, interviews and the tools of applied theatre as research – to explore the organisational, temporal and spatial contours of the group’s activities, identities, ideas and affective encounters. I present this exploration as a set of thematically-linked stories. Extensive reviews of the literatures on relational space, social movements, performance and performativity first establish the theoretical conventions through which SWS’ tale is told. As we enter the ‘field’, we begin to see the processual development of SWS as a performance where affective encounters, in the generative space between declarative identities and lived practice, reshape members’ and allies’ ideas, feelings and imaginings of climate justice. Climate justice as a mesh of interlocked concerns, stemming from the extraction-exploitation nexus of the carbon economy (past and present), is spaced and placed through interactive planning and reflection practices, including an applied theatre workshop inspired by the work of social theatre maker Augusto Boal and popular educator Paolo Freire. Throughout this narrative, our attention is drawn to what has been called a “micro-geopolitics”, and the constant iterations between “holding on” and “going further” that are essential to both ontological safety and political change.

In the process questions are raised and tackled about how political subjectivities emerge and come together, how ethico-political relations are actively created and sustained, and vitally, the contradiction-laden role of climate change itself, as just one player among many in the emergent performance of climate justice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Social movements, climate justice, climate change, environmental justice, space, place, performance, performativity, ecology, applied theatre, popular education, embodiment, materiality, subjectivity, identity, ontology, time, qualitative methods, feminist methodology, participatory research, activist research
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Supervisor's Name: Lorimer, Dr. Hayden and Cumbers, Prof. Andrew
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Dr. Aaron Franks
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4199
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2013 15:04
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2013 11:27

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