2. A Tale of Two Energies: The Political Agency of Things

Ritual and Democracy - Protests, Publics and Performances - Sarah M. Pike

Paul-Francois Tremlett [+-]
Open University
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Paul-François Tremlett is a Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University in the UK. He got his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He is currently interested in processes of rapid social change and intersections of politics and religion.


This chapter concerns a specific moment of political protest that took place in London in 2014, organised by a group called Occupy Democracy. The protest was marked by the iconoclastic destruction of protest material culture by ‘Heritage Wardens’ and Police. My interest is in the political agency of protest things. In order to understand how these things might – at least at certain sites and on certain occasions – possess political agency, I turn substantially to Emile Durkheim’s theory of totemism and then to Jane Bennett’s vitalist conception of the assemblage.

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Tremlett, Paul-Francois. 2. A Tale of Two Energies: The Political Agency of Things. Ritual and Democracy - Protests, Publics and Performances. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 31-47 Oct 2020. ISBN 9781781799758. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39690. Date accessed: 03 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39690. Oct 2020

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