By Jessica Greenberg
When scholar activists in Serbia helped topple dictator Slobodan Milosevic on October five, 2000, they abruptly came upon that the post-revolutionary interval introduced even larger difficulties. How do you certainly stay and perform democracy within the wake of conflict and the shadow of a contemporary revolution? How do younger Serbians try and translate the strength and pleasure generated by means of large scale mobilization into the gradual paintings of establishing democratic associations? Greenberg navigates in the course of the ranks of pupil companies as they transition their activism from the streets again into the halls of the college. In exploring the typical practices of scholar activists—their triumphs and frustrations—After the Revolution argues that unhappiness isn't a failure of democracy yet a basic characteristic of ways humans reside and perform it. This attention-grabbing publication develops a severe vocabulary for the social lifetime of unhappiness with the purpose of supporting voters, students, and policymakers around the globe get away the catch of framing new democracies as doomed to failure.
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Additional resources for After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia
Such political practice is fundamentally hybrid, shot through with multiple meanings and histories. Politics or democracy as abstract concepts necessarily take textual, narrative, and embodied forms that are subject to framing and reframing as they circulate. A politics of disappointment emerges when messy realities move within the same discursive field as normative ideals and expectations. When revolution and democracy don’t live up to their promises, people produce forms of “secular theodicy,” or ways of making sense of and negotiating the space between ideal and everyday lived experience (Herzfeld 1992).
I began to see how student activism as a present-focused commitment to small-level change could emerge as a survival strategy in the context of disappointment. Indeed, student activism in Serbia was not only about bringing about a promised future but also about negotiating the tensions of the present moment. A politics of disappointment was thus also a kind of “affective activism”—a survival strategy for young people in the face of precariousness, social isolation, and uncertainty (Allison 2009).
9 Indeed, given the rise of precariousness, particularly among youth in European peripheries, young people’s experience of time and progress stands to change drastically (Mole 2011; Standing 2011). As in the tale of Odysseus, youth narratives may be wedded to nonlinear chronotopes that upend temporal certainties of late modernity: “passing time” (Jeffrey 2010); “doing nothing” (Graan 2012); “mixing” (Hromadžić 2011); and in Alek’s case, constant fleeing. If intergenerational relations were a site for enacting politics in socialist Yugoslavia, then it is not surprising that people used those frameworks to try to make sense of their relationship to upheavals in state, economy, and society beginning in the 1990s.
After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia by Jessica Greenberg