On the uses of fairy dust: contagion, sorcery and the crafting of other worlds
journal contributionposted on 18.12.2015, 09:37 by Keir Milburn, D. Harvie
We look to mythic resources to help us narrativise and conceptualise instances of ‘affective contagion' within social movements. We first review ‘Crowd Theory', from Gustave Le Bon to Freud, and then the mimetics of Richard Dawkins and his followers. We find both theories lacking when it comes to accounting for collective agency. Next we turn to the work of Philippe Pignarre and Isabelle Stengers, drawing on their conception of capitalist sorcery and their suggestion of crafting techniques to protect oneself against capitalism's spells, to ‘denaturalise' capitalism and thus to repotentialise the world. While Pignarre and Stengers draw inspiration from neo-pagan witches, we instead look to the annals of pop history, where we discover the 1960s' band The Troggs struggling to grasp what turns any particular song into a hit record. We take their ‘sprinkling of fairy dust' notion and apply it to anti-capitalist struggles.