Session Abstract: This panel explores how subjects creatively engage and negotiate with power structures as ways of becoming political within the social and material contexts of their everyday lives. Discussions surrounding politics and everyday resistance in Southeast Asia have often been viewed through James Scott’s concept of “weapons of the weak” (1985). Yet, scholars like Lila Abu-Lughod (1990) have cautioned against over-valorizing resistance, as it sweeps over the much more complex and ambivalent conditions of power relations. Elliott Prasse-Freeman (2020), for example, suggests new modes of thinking about resistance as “subjects… oscillate between direct confrontation and governmental navigation”. Simultaneously, Sherry Ortner (2016) invites studies on resistance to reflect seriously on everyday practices that widen our horizons of imagination and hope. Drawing upon research in Indonesia and Malaysia, we extend the conceptualization of everyday politics to subjects’ creative play including marginalized and activist groups’ engagements with and resistance to authorities and neoliberal forms of economy and governance. The panel calls attention to the interplay of precarity and promise and the ways in which subjects inhabit and also navigate the ambivalence of their positions within, outside, betwixt and between the relationships of structure and agency, dominance and resistance, engagement and disenchantment. Within the interstices where they do politics, new subjectivities emerge. We highlight the need to de-provincialize scholarship on everyday politics by situating these conversations in Southeast Asia where refugee playfulness, multispecies living, digital public pedagogy, and the (re-)learning of local art and culture take place in various structures and socialities.
Paper Presenter: Nursyazwani Jamaludin – University of Pennsylvania
Paper Presenter: Inditian Latifa – University of California, Santa Cruz
Paper Presenter: Annisa Beta – University of Melbourne / School of Culture and Communication
Paper Presenter: Ovi Dading – Cambridge University