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Paris, Wall Street: Reflections on the Political Crowd and Labelling World Historical Events

Rojek, C. (2017). Paris, Wall Street: Reflections on the Political Crowd and Labelling World Historical Events. The Sociological Review, 65(2), pp. 302-317. doi: 10.1177/0038026116674884

Abstract

This paper examines the political crowd as a World Historical Event (WHE). Historian’s define the latter as an episode, incident or emergency that transforms the course of history. The paper examines Hayden White’s discussion of the WHE and the grounds he submits for separating it from pseudo-events. Namely, the identification of collective trauma and the attribution of the episode as the fulfilment or ‘filling out’ of an historical sequence. The paper offers a preliminary taxonomy and concentrates on the non violent political crowd protest. It examines Occupy (2011) as a World Historical Event. It draws comparisons between Occupy, the Paris Commune (1871) and the May Spring in Paris (1968). The aim is to set the evidence about Occupy as a World Historical Event against claims made on its behalf by the media of the day and leading political and social commentators, notably David Harvey, Todd Gitlin, Cornell West and Noam Chomsky. The concept of ‘Event inflation’ is introduced and the claim that World Historical Events can only be determined by retrospective (historical) wisdom is advanced.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Rojek, C. Paris, Wall Street: Reflections on the Political Crowd and Labelling World Historical Events. The Sociological Review, 65(2), pp. 302-317. Copyright © 2017 the authors. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Publisher Keywords: Events, Occupy, Political Crowd, Non-Violent Process, Event Inflation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/15711
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