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Obama Power: Deflation and Reflation of a Political Symbol

A talk by Jeffrey C. Alexander

Friday 7 June 20135:00-7:00 PM

Ramphal 1.04, University of Warwick

In his talk, Obama Power, Professor Alexander will examine President Barack Obama's reelection campaign against conservative challenger Mitt Romney to illustrate the dynamics of social performance at play in competitions for power in a democratic context. Using his theory of cultural pragmatics, Professor Alexander will explain how political actors work and walk the symbolic boundaries that distinguish the civil from the non-civil spheres of contemporary American life. Political actors create narratives in relation to an overarching cultural code -or binary definitions of actors, motives, and institutions- to situate themselves on the sacred, civil side, and their opponents on the polluted, uncivil side. Professor Alexander will examine how these narrative practices take place through public performances, which are mediated and spun by opinion makers, and interpreted by publics.

Professors Shirin Rai, Michael Saward (PAIS), and Silvija Jestrovic (Theatre Studies) will serve as discussants and open a forum for questions following Professor Alexander's talk.

To Register: Please email Jason Mast at j dot l dot mast at warwick dot ac dot uk. Attendance is free but space is limited.

Event information:

Hosted by: Dr Jason Mast of the IAS and Professor Celia Lury, Director of Warwick's Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies.

Open Democracy: Summary Papers on Aesthetics and Politics

Please see the ongoing dissemination of summary papers published on OpenDemocracy.
The papers were first presented at the Political Aesthetics of Power and Protest workshop on the 26th September 2012 at Warwick. The workshop was funded by the Leverhulme Trust Programme on Gendered Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament and organised by Shirin Rai and Arundhati Virmani.