17 Jun 2019 12:30pm - 2:00pm CRASSH Meeting Room, Alison Richard Building, Sidgwick Site


“The work in progress seminars were varied, stimulating and of  high intellectual calibre.”
Susanne Hakenbeck (Archaeology), Early Career Fellow, Lent 2017

Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work in Progress Seminar Series.  All welcome but please email  Michelle Maciejewska to book your place and to request readings.  A sandwich lunch and refreshments are provided.

Dr Charis Boutieri

How do we understand the grotesque in contemporary negotiations of democratic life? At the peak of procedural democratic consolidation, carnivalesque revelries in Tunisia became the object of generational tension and public repugnance. The dissimilar readings of the aesthetics, practices, and affect that underpinned these carnival revelries evince an agonistic process of prizing open democratic ideals within existing social relations. On the one hand, the democratic grotesque as phenomenon becomes the antipode to the global rise of grotesque sovereign discourse and praxis. On the other hand, the reverlies and local conversations about them complicate broader discussions on carnivalesque politics and direct democratic action that underline dimensions of civility and consensus by exposing the emotional intensity and the dissensus that undergird radical democratic visions of the future. 


Dr. Charis Boutieri is a CRASSH Visiting Fellow and will be at the Centre until June 2019. 

During her fellowship, Charis will complete a book manuscript on the interaction between democracy promotion and agonistic politics in post-revolutionary Tunisia. Embedded in the landscape of civic activism and civic training, this work is informed by a threefold goal: 1) Map out the pedagogical – disciplinary – practices that shape processes of public deliberation in the country 2) Explore the localized and often contradictory enactments of democracy on the ground through the lenses of class, generation, and gender and religious difference 3) Contribute to our knowledge about the social relations that emerge at the intersection of neoliberal expansion and liberal representative democracy in a space of political transition. In terms of the conceptual framework and scholarly contribution of this monograph, Charis intends to bring to light the intersection of social practices, cultural histories, and regulatory mechanisms – interpersonal, legal, technical – that constitute the terrain of the negotiation of democracy as a “form of sociality” (Moore 2016).  In other words, she wants to illuminate the way democratic transition invites people to relate anew to themselves and to others, vernacularizing along the way a number of normative assumptions of liberal democratic theory. The monograph draws on fieldwork conducted regularly between 2013 and 2016 with the aim to explore the vocabularies and practices that underpin the forging of democratic values and behaviours among Tunisian citizens as well as the intersection of these pedagogies with the conduct of everyday life. Fieldwork has been kindly supported by a King’s College London School of Arts and Humanities Seed Fund, a King’s College London School of Social Science and Public Policy Research Grant, and a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship (RF-2014-721, academic year 2014-2015). 

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