Seminar at Uppsala about Belarus

The events of the so-called ‘Ploshcha’ [Square] in 2006 made some of social theorists predict the revival of civic protest in Belarus. Those assumptions, however, proved to be wrong: rather, we witnessed that same trend of slow decay in both number and intensity of activism and protest, reproducing the patterns established in the 1990s. Yet, in the last five years, activists started using new techniques for the organisation of protests, inventing new slogans and coming up with more creative ideas. Author reflects on the emergence of new practices and in which way they make obsolete traditional assumptions, concepts and political answers, such as the focus on ‘street struggle,’ as well as the lack of attention to the symbolical dimension of protests. In particular, the author analyzes emerging forms of collective protest such as so-called ‘Silent Actions’ through the lens of Laclau’s and Mouffe’s discourse theory and concludes on the subtle connections between Ploshcha discourse and that of the Silent Actions.”

Vasil Navumau completed his PhD at the Graduate School for Social Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences in 2014. He is an author of the book The Belarusian Maidan in 2006: A New Social Movement Approach to the Tent Camp Protest in Minsk. Currently he is a guest researcher at the Research Centre for East European Studies at Bremen University. His research interests focus on the ways information and communications technologies influence the transformation of repertoire, scope and ideology of social movements and the ways they can contribute to the formation of more transparent, participative and inclusive government.