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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: 20 September 2021

The Dark Side of Activist Culture and its Gendered Dimension

The Dark Side of Activist Culture and its Gendered Dimension

(p.153) 7 The Dark Side of Activist Culture and its Gendered Dimension
Living Against Austerity

Emma Craddock

Policy Press

This chapter explores the ‘dark side’ of activist culture, labelled this because of its negative effects and the fact that it is hidden from public view. It illustrates the negative aspects, including how the activist identity is maintained and policed by other activists through practices of shaming. It examines the implications of such practices and of the ideal activist identity, focusing on ‘activist burnout’ and its relation to care (or a lack of it) within activist culture. While the ideal activist is constructed within the local anti-austerity activist culture as an abstract individual, this chapter argues that it is actually the white, able-bodied male, given the criteria that define it. Significantly, this chapter asserts that the implicit gendered nature of the ideal activist identity and its damaging gendered consequences are not recognised, resulting in gendered symbolic violence – with women feeling guilt and blaming themselves for their perceived failure to adequately perform the identity. This chapter thus reveals the complex ways in which spaces of resistance can reinforce dominant gendered power structures, while ostensibly fighting against them.

Keywords:   Shame, Gendered symbolic violence, Guilt, Ideal activist identity, Blame, Activist burnout

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