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Empowering Civil Society: The Theatricality of Protest in Malta

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 April 2022

Abstract

The recent barbaric murder of an investigative journalist in Malta who was looking into corruption at the top echelons of power sparked off a civil society movement, Repubblika, spurring ordinary citizens into participating in collective protest action. The movement also incorporated a loose grouping of women calling themselves ‘Occupy Justice’. Different forms of protest against government corruption have resulted in the resignation of various senior politicians and high-ranking officials, including the Prime Minister. Taking as a point of departure the struggle against the unequal distribution of power as defined by Michel Foucault and Jacques Rancière, the empowering force of civil protest is here examined in relation to how power is appropriated and how institutional power is resisted. Micromobilization and mesomobilization are seen as two means of staging protest and creating a common force with which to confront corrupt power structures. Protest, power, and resistance are viewed in the light of theatrical events; the creative means deployed to stage protests are discussed. The aesthetic qualities meant to transform perception and move people to action for bringing about political change are highlighted in relation to both sensory and symbolic dynamics. Vicki Ann Cremona is Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Malta and the author of Carnival and Power: Play and Politics in a Crown Colony (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), as well as a co-editor of Theatre Scandals: Social Dynamics of Turbulent Theatrical Events (Brill-Rodopi, 2020).

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2022

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