Occupy Bulgaria

Or, The Emergence of the Post-Communist Contestatory Citizenship

In: Southeastern Europe
Anna Krasteva New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria,

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This article examines the reinvention of post-communist democracy through contestation and new mobilizations on and offline. The hypothesis of this analysis is that we are currently witnessing a second democratic revolution: following the velvet revolution of the 1990s, a second, digital and contestatory revolution has been occurring in the 2010s. Whereas the first revolution introduced parliamentary democracy into the post-communist states, the new revolution sets the conditions for the emergence of contestatory citizenship. The article is structured in three parts. The first section analyses the emergence of a new type of citizenship and identifies its ‘3 I’ formula: indignation, Internet, and imagination. Furthermore, the conception of contestatory (e-)citizenship is articulated along four axes: the ‘augmented’ citizen, the digital indignados, ‘speaking up’, and the networked individual. The second part examines the political cartography of protests and their uses (politization, aesthetization, self-reflexivity, civic takeover of political temporality, ‘exit or voice’). The article compares three waves of mobilization and, armed with the analytic toolkit of contestatory citizenship and a scheme of four axes, proposes a classification. The third part of the paper, finally, looks at the new mobilizations through the perspective of the new actors.

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