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Living Against AusterityA Feminist Investigation of Doing Activism and Being Activist$
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Emma Craddock

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529205701

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529205701.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

The Authentic and Ideal Activist Identities: Having the ‘Right’ Motivation and Doing ‘Enough’ of the ‘Right’ Type of Activism

The Authentic and Ideal Activist Identities: Having the ‘Right’ Motivation and Doing ‘Enough’ of the ‘Right’ Type of Activism

(p.127) 6 The Authentic and Ideal Activist Identities: Having the ‘Right’ Motivation and Doing ‘Enough’ of the ‘Right’ Type of Activism
Living Against Austerity

Emma Craddock

Policy Press

This chapter explores the ways in which the activist identity is constructed and negotiated within local anti-austerity activist culture. It begins by establishing the shared meanings and context-specific nature of the term before discussing in more detail the two main constructions of the activist identity present in participants’ narratives. The first identity is the ‘authentic’ activist who has the required lived experiences to possess the authority to speak about certain topics. Having explored barriers that prevent individuals and groups from doing activism under the question of who can do activism in Chapter 5, this chapter considers the question of who should do activism, according to participants. The second main construction of the activist identity that this chapter explores is the ‘ideal activist’, which is defined by the type and amount of activism one does. In order to be considered an ideal activist, individuals must do ‘enough’ of the ‘right’ type of activism (direct action rather than online activism). This chapter demonstrates that the ideal activist identity is underpinned by the distinction participants draw between talking and doing, which feeds into the construction of direct, offline action as the pinnacle of ‘real’ activism versus online ‘slacktivism’. The final section of this chapter interrogates this artificial dichotomy and reveals the enabling features of online activism, as well as the ways in which both forms of activism interact, rather than conflict.

Keywords:   Activist identity, Slacktivism, Direct action, Ideal activist, Anti-austerity, Online activism, Offline activism

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