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Protest in the 21st century: Is naked the new balaclava?

Louis, W. and Thomas, E.F. (2014) Protest in the 21st century: Is naked the new balaclava? The Conversation, 17 February 2014 .

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For those of us who grew up with marches and rallies as the default type (or stereotype) of protest, some of the 21st-century forms – such as The World Naked Bike Ride or Nannas Knitting Against Gas and Greed – raise new questions. Are these new “peaceful” methods of protest replacing rallies and riots? What about e-activism? How are trends changing, and do any of these methods work better to change the world?

Let us first ask: why nude knitting?

Shocking and comforting, intimate and public, it was only a matter of time before the nude knitting protest undertaken by “performer craftivist” Casey Jenkins last year. But in fact nudity and protest have a long history.

Activists pursue two broad goals: to convert decision-makers, the public or third parties to their cause; and to confront political opponents, or the perceived sources of problems, and persuade them to stop doing something.

When more ideologically-compatible governments are in power, activists aim to convert decision-makers: they often use conventional methods to bring issues into the public eye so that favourably-minded governments have an excuse to act.

Publication Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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