Where is the Common Ground? Making Local Activism Work in Southend
3rd May, 2015 at 8pm
Upstairs at the Railway Hotel, Southend-on-Sea
The General Election on May 7th is occurring against a backdrop of relentless austerity, food poverty, tax evasion and scapegoating of groups without access to the mainstream media that marginalizes them.
Is there an alternative to this politics of despair, and if so, is collective activism the answer? Is Essex man Russell Brand right when he tells us that the system is broken and what we accept as ‘common sense’ has been imposed on us? On one hand, events in Greece and Spain show that collective responses to inequality are working. On the other hand, there is the anti-European, anti-immigration stance of populists like UKIP and Le Front National in France, whose appeal seems to resonate with the mythologized ‘man in the street’.
This pre-election CCT special event explores alternative ways of thinking critically about our everyday political lives and considers the effectiveness of collective activism. We’ll discuss what can be done at the local level to make a difference and what kind of differences ‘we’ want by first thinking about who ‘we’ are – a collective political force or fragmented individual consumers?
We ask you to contemplate the idea of the common ground and critically explore related concepts like neoliberalism, individuality, crowds, publics, multiplicities, collectivity, and of course, democracy.
Introduction by Andrew Branch
Tony D. Sampson (author of Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks): Crowds, Publics and Desire.
Giles Tofield (Director of The Cultural Engine): Finding Common Ground – Southend.
Q&A Chaired by Andrew Branch followed by break for drinks
Special guest speaker Professor Jeremy Gilbert (author of Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in the Age of Individualism): The Common Ground
Discussion chaired by Andrew Branch
Dr Tony D Sampson
Reader in Digital Culture and Communications
School of Arts and Digital Industries
Club Critical Theory: https://clubcriticaltheory.wordpress.com/
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