Giving account of the voice-of-encounter: Anecdotes from the occupy movement

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    This article proposes a new sociological conception of voice as a voice-of-encounter and is grounded in anecdotes from the 2011 Occupy movement. Voice has occupied a place in sociological analysis insofar as it designates a space for collective representation, a capacity for collective resistance, and a strategy for collective action. But this article argues for the adoption of a new sociological conception of voice by theorizing a voice-of-encounter, broadly defined as a place-making capacity that spontaneously constructs inclusive and exclusive edges with pervious commitments to a predetermined form. The article uses, as an instrumental case study, personal encounters with the Occupy protest movement in 2011, for the purpose of elucidating voice’s affective distributions of edges in the context of new decentralized and social media based resistances. Methodologically, the article relies on inclusive and exclusive ‘encounters’ between the author and a local Occupy configuration out of which a social critique of voice is constructed. The purpose is not so much to offer a new theorization of the Occupy movement than to use the Occupy movement as an example of the effect decentralization is having on ‘giving voice’ in social movements. Thus, while voice, in the sociological literature, has been theorized as the capacity to give voice to an issue as well as to a collective and heretofore underrepresented minority, a capacity for ‘giving account of oneself’, this article takes a contrary yet complementary approach, claiming that a voice-of-encounter focuses on an orientation to possibilities of encounter across subjects rather than to the expression of any one specific subjectivity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)714-728
    Number of pages15
    JournalSociological Review
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov. 2017


    • Anecdote
    • Encounter
    • Extra-institutional politics
    • Occupy
    • Social movements
    • Voice


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