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Title: Leadership, leaderlessness and leaderless groups : the case of the Occupy London movement
Author: Elmi Keshtiban, Amir
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 5299
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis investigates how ‘leaderless’ social movements are coordinated and sustained by their members. Drawing on an empirical study of the London Occupy protests, it emphasises the socially-constructed nature of ‘leaderlessness’, arguing that the London Occupy movement can be understood as an ensemble of symbolic meanings, practical accomplishments and communicative political actions that allowed activists to mobilise and develop a broad-ranging repertoire of protest. The thesis examines how divergent but interrelated modalities, including occupation of physical and virtual space, appropriation of both ‘new’ and ‘old’ media and dramaturgical use of physical artefacts (most notably the Guy Fawkes mask), were deployed in ways that instantiated a series of highly-charged political ‘spectacles’, challenging the dominance of the capitalist economic order. This thesis also considers whether the Occupy movement represents a new template for twenty-first-century political activism. Whilst the movement can be seen as distinctively new, in the sense that it operates ‘virtually’ and without a fixed political programme or formal structure, similar political actions can be traced back to the protest movements of the 1960s and to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century struggles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)