The madness that is the world:young activists' emotional reasoning and their participation in a local Occupy movement


The focus of this paper is young people’s participation in the Occupy protest movement that emerged in the early autumn of 2011. Its concern is with the emotional dimensions of this and in particular the significance of emotions to the reasoning of young people who came to commit significant time and energy to the movement. Its starting point is the critique of emotions as narrowly subjective, whereby the passions that events like Occupy arouse are treated as beyond the scope of human reason. The rightful rejection of this reductionist argument has given rise to an interest in under- standings of the emotional content of social and political protest as normatively con- stituted, but this paper seeks a different perspective by arguing that the emotions of Occupy activists can be regarded as a reasonable force. It does so by discussing find- ings from long-term qualitative research with a Local Occupy movement somewhere in England and Wales. Using the arguments of social realists, the paper explores this data to examine why things matter sufficiently for young people to care about them and how the emotional force that this involves constitutes an indispensable source of reason in young activists’ decisions to become involved in Local Occupy.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Languages & Social Sciences > Sociology and Policy
Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC)
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Mizen, P. (2015). The madness that is the world: young activists' emotional reasoning and their participation in a local Occupy movement. Sociological review, 63(S2), 167-182, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: young people,emotion ,social movements,occupy,reason reasoning
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Related URLs: http://onlineli ... .12267/abstract (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Special issue
Published Date: 2015-12
Published Online Date: 2015-06-30
Authors: Mizen, Phil ( 0000-0001-5096-7525)



Version: Accepted Version

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