Sunday, March 8, 2009

International Women's Day and the case of K Kouneva

Today, an example of how particular cases and situations get linked to international 'days of action' and other designated slices of time; at least according to the following blog post from a group of French anarcho-syndicalists, today - International Women's Day - is being dedicated in Greece to Konstantina Kouneva, whose case I've mentioned previously in this space:

This kind of case- and local-linkage is of course common; it is in some ways rootless and unsatisfying (not to mention arguably ineffective) to mobilize around a cause 'in general'. Indeed, social psychologists examining activist 'framing' (how an issue or cause is described in itself and in its relations with a wider context) have suggested that a 'face' or a personality, a story that makes people identify with a specific individual is an effective means of generating empathetic identification with a cause and giving rise to the kind of motivational processes that might actually get people to do something (ref? Gamson 1995?). Naming, in-person speaking tours, video testimonies, first-person account and narratives rendered as those of individual lives may foster the possibility of empathetic identification over difference and distance. Clearly this is of interest in examining the role played by the shooting of Alexis Grigoropoulos in the initial unrest this past December (so many statements included phrases like "this is for Alexis..." and many accounts emphasize the role of youth who are sometimes quoted saying that they felt almost interchangeable with the Greek teenager shot to death in Exarchia) - and the case of Konstantina Kouneva appears to be the primary example of an individual case that continues to provide a point of focus for those continuing to emphasize the ongoing struggles and unrest in Greece. And today, International Women's Day, serves up an opportunity to focus on a particular angle of her story. A feminist reading of the means of attack used against Kouneva (she was kidnapped and assaulted with sulphuric acid) has been circulating in Athens; a translation to English appears on the On The Greek Riots blog, and is reproduced in the Jura Libertaire post linked above:

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