Video Activism as a Performative Political Practice of the Women's Movement in Postsocialist Serbia
My research “Video Activism as a Performative Political Practice of the Women´s Movement in Postsocialist Serbia” is a part of a DOC-team project called “Contentious Images- Unruly Practices, An Ethnography of Visual Protest Repertoires in Southeastern Europe”, which aims to analyse the visual dimension of contemporary protest by looking at three urban movements in Southeastern Europe. Introducing the concept of visual protest repertoires we will connect a central concept from social movement theory to the yet under-researched visual realm.
Why video activism? Why are women left out of the history? Is it because we have not created it or because men have documented the history? We have to take back the history, document our actions and picture women's future! (Active Girls 2014)
My PhD project examines how women's movements in post-socialist Serbia employ video activism as a new form of political participation, looking at the example of the Women in Black- a feminist antimilitarist peace organisation. The central concerns are the performative character of this visual protest repertoire, as well as the processes of subjectivation that are connected to the production and distribution of activist videos. An ethnographic study of the political actors involved will enable an analysis of how they challenge and renegotiate the dominant gender discourse they face in everyday life.
The first women’s video activist group in Serbia was created by Women in Black in 2010 with the aim to make visible the effects of various models of transitional justice, and offer critique from a feminist perspective (Women in Black 2011). A number of videos have been produced since in order to raise public awareness for social injustice, mobilise for collective action and protest, and document protest events.
The central question this research addresses is how the activists from the women's movement Women in Black use videos to create visibility for issues relevant to their lives. Video activism will be understood as a performative practice that does not just represent political claims and mobilizes for them externally but also has a particular ability to bring forth new subjectivities. Particular attention will be paid to strategies of visualisation that translate everyday experience into the political sphere.
Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil. Johanna Rolshoven