New aesthetic forms and social movement in Asia

Panel organised by: Nirmala Biluka (JNAFA University, Hyderabad, India)

Panel description

Asia has been the epicentre for a wave of social movements and political contestations in the twenty first century. This trend is evident in places that experienced mass protests over the past decade, such as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and India. Although each movement has its own issues, relevance and outcomes what is common to most of them is how creative methods, new media and social networks have helped in grabbing attention of the public. It is also seen that one social movement often inspires another by using similar tags or ways of protest. While traditional approaches such as street protests or boycotts are applied in physical or geographical spaces, much more innovative ways are brought forth through use of new media and social networks. This has changed the ways in which citizens participate and affect dynamics of social movements. The panel seeks papers that will look into the challenges and possibilities of such creative contestations and its effects on political scenarios.

Along with people, the government, political parties and organisations are the other stakeholders in this. For instance, during the current #KeralaFlood crisis in South India, social media was an important tool and surpassed the mainstream media’s efforts in providing emergency relief. Facebook and Whatsapp helped build a community around the response to the crisis, providing regular information and thus mobilising people from all over the world. Similarly the #Me Too social media movement had several local, national versions that became a worldwide campaign against rampant sexual harassment and violence. The panel intends to address such varied forms of creative approaches as modes of bringing awareness and social change with a focus on Social movements in Asian countries. The papers may broadly include other aesthetic forms such as cinema, visual culture, digital images, memes etc that are particularly related to social movements. A few questions that the panel seeks to answer are how do creative forms of protest support, engage or disengage the citizens. What kind of affects or outcomes do they bring about? How have these aesthetics forms manifested in the Inter-Asian contexts and beyond? We invite submissions exploring these and related topics.

Paper proposal

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