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Fun and Laughter:: Culture Jamming and the Emotional Regime of Late Capitalism
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Social Studies.
2009 (English)In: Social Movement Studies, ISSN 1474-2837, Vol. 8, no 1, 1-15 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
Abstract

The fusion of means and ends is a characteristic of new social movements, but the literature on emotions in social movements tends to focus on the way that emotion management constitutes part of the means for protest, leaving out the construction of alternative emotional regimes as a possible goal in it-self. The article addresses this issue through the analysis of the meanings and uses of fun as a core emotion in culture jamming. The data underlying the analysis consist of texts and visuals from the websites of five groups, seven in-depth interviews, two participant observations, and the book Culture Jam.

The emotional regime of late capitalism produces a tension between what may be articulated as a divide between true and fake emotions, reflected in the understanding of real fun in culture jamming. Fun here is strongly reminiscent of the utopian laughter of the medieval carnival, challenging the existing order, offering glimpses of another (possible) world. Fun in culture jamming is used also in a micropolitical play with the feeling rules of late capitalism, where emotional self-discipline and control of anger are pivotal but the provocation of anger in the opponent becomes a small victory. Meanwhile, jammers channel their own anger into fun. Understood as an expression of emotional energy, fun constitutes the instant activist individual reward, yet based on group solidarity and commitment and a loosely defined collective identity. Through all these aspects, fun and pleasure in culture jamming are not only a means of protest but also an end of protest, most evident in the utopian laughter. But fun is also an end when the rules of the emotional regime of late capitalism are used to generate small victories, and when fun as EE fuels individual self-esteem and becomes a protection against activist burnout.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 8, no 1, 1-15 p.
Keyword [en]
Culture jamming, emotions, protest, fun, social movements, emotional energy
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-10967OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-10967DiVA: diva2:494530
Available from: 2012-02-08 Created: 2012-02-08 Last updated: 2013-06-12Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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More styles
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