Surfing the Revolutionary Wave 2010-12: A Social Theory of Agency, Resistance, and Orders of Dissent in Contemporary Social Movements
chapterposted on 07.05.2015, 10:26 by Athina Karatzogianni, M. Schandorf
The theorisation and understanding of contemporary social movements, socio-technological phenomena, and the intersection of the two are limited by an incommensurability between the conceptualisations of individual agency and the disciplining powers of social structures. We introduce a theory of sociotechnological agency that bridges the individual and the social through a reconceptualization of the conventional notion of intentionality. Drawing from recent theories of affect and embodiment, posthuman-influenced materialisms and realisms, postmodern critical theory, and critiques of network theory, we introduce a model for understanding sociopolitical action and dissent that accounts for individual human agency as a nexus of overlapping and often competing subjectivities, as well as both nonhuman technological agencies and assemblages of the two. The theoretical framework presented avoids the tendency of much critical theory, new materialist theory and speculative realisms to discount or dismiss human agency altogether, and the predilection of situationist technosocial research to ignore the constraints of technological systems of production and reproduction. This theory of agents (as actants) and agencies (as force vectors of action) is situated within an ecological model of competing systemic social logics dominated by the global-hegemonic capitalist code, in order to conceptualise the intertwined possibility spaces of individual and social resistance. The article introduces a conceptual framework to theorise resistances against the present global order and national suborders based on the type of agency, the order of dissent, the mode of labor, the logic of action and the level against which resistance is directed at.