Resistance to oppression and domination has taken a new form, designed for the 'here and now' in the service of tangible causes: borderless education, alternative and solidarity-based economics, the free software community, etc. Attempts to change the world are increasingly occurring from the ‘bottom up’ rather than according to the universal and symbolic Marxist paradigm that had been adopted by the proletariat.
How does the experience of injustice give rise to indignation? Are such struggles constructed in opposition to the State, or do they attempt to work within the system or even enlist the State as an ally? Are these truly new forms of resistance or do are they recycling past modes of engagement previously obscured by the fantasy of total revolution?
If our societies are slowly but surely extricating themselves from the ‘black hole’ of critical thought to which last few decades had relegated them, have the shifts of capitalism and the recasting of its ideology deprived the ‘new proletariat’ of a clearly identifiable adversary and of the ability to mobilise around a global cause?
Elaborating a panorama of the various contemporary methods of resistance and analysing the latter, this work seeks to address all these questions and more.
Bruno Frère is a researcher in sociology at the FNRS of the Université de Liège and at Sciences Po. Marc Jacquemain is a professor of sociology at the Université de Liège.