(Dis)Assembling global-justice identities.
Glenn J. Stalker
Refereed Article, 2021
Stalker, G. J., & Wood, L. J. (2021). (Dis)Assembling global-justice identities. Poetics, 85, Article 101500.
Activist identities in contentious events are the product of local interactions, and of evolving and mobile cycles of protest. In other words, they are both territorialized and deterritorialized. This paper proposes a way of understanding processes of collective identity within contentious events. It builds on existing conceptions of collective identity, (della Porta, Diani, Flesher Fominaya, Tilly), but uses Deleuze and Guattari's conception of assemblage to show how at any one time and place, identities are multiple and in motion. Social relations shape the ‘being’ of relationships amongst identities within a movement event, and make possible future ‘becomings.’ Such complexity is made visible by combining ethnographic data of the 2010 G20 summit protests in Toronto, with logistic regression of a survey of 379 activists participating in those protests. The results show the multiple, and entangled identities activists use in what might simply be described as a ‘global-justice movement’ event. By better understanding the assembled relations among movement identities, one can better understand the complex ways that movement events can unfold and be understood.