Academics and the Occupy Movement

978-0-8223-4269-4_prIt's May Day, also known as International Workers Day. May Day is a holiday in more than 80 countries and the occasion for marches and protests in many others. This year, May Day celebrations in the U.S. are also linked to the Occupy Wall Street movement. A large rally is planned in New York City's Union Square that hopes to harness some of the energy of that movement and link it to unions and immigrant solidarity groups. As Jennifer Scheussler of the New York Times reports, another group that will be out in force on May Day are academics, "notebook-wielding social scientists hoping to get a more precise understanding of the nebulously organized individuals marching under the banner 'We are the 99 percent.'" Scheussler interviews Jeffrey Juris, author of Networking Futures: The Movement against Corporate Globalization. Juris helped set up Occupy Reserach, an online clearinghouse for academics to share data and tools. Juris tells the Times that he worries that the Occupy movement is too focused on gathering large numbers of people in prominent locales. "It’s critical to broaden tactics,” he says. "But how do you do that when the movement is called Occupy?" Juris and other scholars will examine how academics can use ethnography to study movements like Occupy in a new book coming out in 2013: Insurgent Encounters: Transnational Activism, Ethnography, and the Political

978-0-8223-4918-1_prAnother Duke Press author active in the Occupy movement is Nicholas Mirzoeff, author of The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality. Mirzoeff writes daily in a blog called Occupy 2012, musing on history, aesthetics, and the movement's future, among many other topics. His Twitter feed (@nickmirzoeff) is also a lively place to follow the movement. Mirzoeff will be at the Union Square rally today. Happy May Day to workers and scholars around the world!

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