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When anger turns hip-hop: The deliberative capacity of teenagers' festive protests in Japan

Kei Nishiyama, University of Canberra

Tue 6 February 2018

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


As one of several new forms of nonviolent activism, “festive” protests, or “protestival,” have received considerable attention from scholars and activists alike. By employing fun-centric and performance-based actions (e.g. singing hip-hop, writing songs, dancing, drawing street arts, or marching in a parade with colourful and humorous costumes), festive protestors form and sustain their movements, challenge dominant discourses, and drive social change in a unique manner. Importantly, festive protests can provide politically marginalized people, in this case teenagers, with a variety of opportunities to become involved in social change as they utilize teenager-friendly means of action.

In this presentation, I will examine the democratic capacity of teenagers’ festive protests. In particular, I will seek to answer the question, what are the democratic purposes, contributions and meanings of teenagers’ festive protests? I will evaluate the democratic contribution of teenagers’ festive protests using the deliberative systems framework. This framework helps us to consider how the teenagers’ various communicative actions in social movements contribute to induce authentic, inclusive, and consequential deliberation across society thereby evaluating the democratic contribution of teenagers’ festive protests.

This presentation will focus on the case of teenagers’ festive protests in Japan in the 2010s. I will contrast the case of the 2010s with protests in the 1960s. Both sets of protests are recognised as historically significant periods of teenagers’ protesting in Japan, motivated by the same issue (anti-war). However, the two sets of protests utilised radically different means (violent and festive), thereby leading to different consequences. The preliminary analysis of (a) repertoires of contention, (b) the type and content of speech actions, and (c) the political and social responses shall reveal the communicative and inclusive functions that teenagers’ festive protests potentially have in deliberative systems.

About the speaker

Kei Nishiyama is a Ph.D. student at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy & Global Governance.. His Ph.D. resarch - under the supervision of Prof John Dryzek and Dr Selen Ercan - investigates the way in which children can act as agents (rather than merely future citizens) of deliberative democracy. By employing the deliberative system appraoch as a theoretical framewrok, Kei considers pathways in which children's various deliberative actions (including deliberation in public space, participating in activist groups, deliberating in schools, deliberating with families or friends) can be incorporated in a wider deliberative system. Previosuly Kei studied philosophy of education at Rikkyo University (Japan) and gained a Bachelor (Arts in Education) and a Master Degree (Pedagogy). Kei is also a dialogue practitoner (6 years experience) of one deliberative practice in schools and society, called "philosophy for children." Kei is currently a part-time lecturer at the Department of Behavioral Science of Motivation, Correspondence College, Tokyo Future University, Japan. He lectures on politics of schooling, namely multiculturalism and identity problems in the context of school education.

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