Who is speaking? The Indignados as political subjects

I recently published an article in Global Discourse, on how the Indignados are not recognised as “proper” political actors, something which I criticise in my work. The article is available here. If you don’t have access to the journal, just drop me an email!


“Since 2011, the Indignados have been a prominent feature of Spanish politics. Based on the emotional characteristics and framing of the movement, this article argues that our common notions of how democracy and legitimacy should work, and in particular ideas of deliberative democracy, consistently favour political behaviour of a certain kind, namely that of rational action. This article argues that ideas of radical democracy, especially those of Jacques Rancière, could help broaden the idea of politics, in arguing that only recognising rational actions is an exclusionary practice. The article thus uses the case of the Indignados in order to rethink some dimensions of democratic theory. It starts out with an outlook on the current situation in Spain and then moves on to describe the main tenets of deliberative democracy and the problem the Indignados pose to such a theory. In opposition to this it introduces Rancière’s works, and argues that this has much higher bearing for our contemporary problems of democracy. The article concludes by saying that deliberative democracy lacks explanatory power when it comes to the Indignados. By requiring a unified sovereign, a distinction between voice and noise, and a consensual form of legitimate decision-making, the Indignados are not deemed political subjects in deliberative democratic theory. This can be seen as an exclusionary practice, since the Indignados still form a noticeable presence in today’s political landscape. Therefore, there is a need for revising what constitutes a political subject and a political action.”


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