Hilary Pilkington
Search for other papers by Hilary Pilkington in
Current site
Google Scholar
‘One big family’
Emotion, affect and the meaning of activism

This chapter discusses the emotional and affective dimensions of EDL activism by exploring the pleasures of the ‘demo buzz’ and the ontological security generated by relationships formed in the EDL ‘family’. It outlines theoretical debates on emotion and affect in social movements and adopts the notion of ‘affective practice’ to understand and explore the role of emotion in EDL activism. It shows how street demonstrations are experienced by respondents as not only a place for achievement of the rational goal of ‘getting your message across’ but also, emotionally, as ‘a good day out’ with its associated pleasures (including, for some, violence and ‘disorder’). The forms and means by which the emotional collective is formed within the EDL (the use of symbols, colours, chanting and other performative acts) is discussed and arguments that these emotions are instrumentally orchestrated from above are refuted. Finally, the chapter considers the ‘reciprocal emotions’ - close, affective ties of friendship, love, solidarity, and loyalty - generated within social movements. These emotions – expressed through respondents’ understanding of the EDL as ‘one big family’ - arise out of, and enhance, the pleasures of shared activism but can work to undermine as well as strengthen group bonds.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

All of MUP's digital content including Open Access books and journals is now available on manchesterhive.


Loud and proud

Passion and politics in the English Defence League


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 748 38 5
PDF Downloads 465 81 0