Social Rage

May 2021
Vol. 23 No. 1

Social Rage

From the guest editor 

As young students, we thought of a state of limbo as like being trapped in a bar at the airport without a plane to catch. Frustrating, but what could you do? In relation to this pandemic, many of us follow a similar ‘wait and see’ attitude – generally following the suggested wisdom in a collective way. But there are others who will not accept this (e.g., recent Dutch riots concerning corona).

This makes us ask, what is that leads to such ‘Social Rage’? In what context does it just erupt? i.e., with ‘like-minded’ groups strongly presenting their repertoires of claims (actions) against an identifiable thing or opponent over something with political importance (Tilley 2010).

‘Social Rage’ is the theme of this DevISSues.

In the case of Myanmar (Ra), the Spring Revolution is a clear culmination of historical frustrations with elites, colonial traditions and corruption. It is a ‘Rage against the Military’. The constraints of the pandemic could be tolerated, this continuing oppression could not. Yet, while the target seems clear, it is a rage involving various actions across many different social and economic groups.

Biekart (article on Dutch riots), presents a vastly different context and in this he ponders - what was the issue and who are the groups involved in recent social rage? Was it just lockdown-induced social rights frustrations of certain (heterogeneous) groups or was it also the culmination of a growing disillusionment with political processes? This is also a case in which a left vs. right perspective on the pandemic is not so clear.

On the other hand, in Brazil (Leonardo and Adams), the processes involved in recent social rage appear (like in the USA) to be more identifiable. Traditional, undemocratic and hierarchical social attitudes are personified in Bolsonaro. Economic and political crises, social inequalities, the pandemic and Bolsonaro’s necropolitical (death wish) stance to the precarious have led to a massive disaster. The Left is trying to regroup against this. However, many are house-bound (by choice) and/or are fearful of a vocal, regime-supporting group of anti-virus/ anti-lockdown protesters in public spaces.

These are all cases which highlight the importance of the social justice and equity perspectives of institutes such as ISS and EUR. Getting our knowledge ‘out there’ is important, as is our desire to make a real impact via social engagement. Limbo cannot last forever!

We hope you find this DevISSues a useful, thought-provoking addition on these themes and our place in these debates.

Dr Lee Pegler, Chair, DevISSues


A liminal space: Transformation to post-corona

COVID-19 and social discontent in the Netherlands

Social rage and politics in Brazil

Where are they now?

Social rage in Myanmar

Knowledge for change: getting our Research InSightS out

Experiences of Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants during the COVID-19 crisis

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