Title page for ETD etd-02182009-103434

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Iles, III, David Matthew
Author's Email Address diles1@lsu.edu
URN etd-02182009-103434
Title Boxing with Shadows: Contentious Politics, Culture Jamming, and Radical Creativity in Tactical Innovation
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Xi Chen Committee Chair
Cecil Eubanks Committee Member
William Clark Committee Member
  • Bourdieu
  • culture jamming
  • contentious politics
  • tactical innovation
  • art
Date of Defense 2008-11-13
Availability unrestricted
Dominant theories of tactical innovation in contentious politics suggest that actors innovate in times of crisis or at the margins of familiar forms of action in order to achieve strategic advantage. I argue that these theories do not satisfactorily account for the tactical creativity of a form of contention called culture jamming. Instead, I employ a biographical theory of tactical innovation to explain their distinct repertoire of contention. This theory claims that tactics are partially explained as emanations of or congruent with the life experiences, identities, dispositions, and values of actors. Bourdieuís field theory allows me to identify a social context generative of an aesthetic disposition, the field of art. It is my contention that a politicized aesthetic disposition is responsible for the observed tactical creativity and innovation of culture jamming. Such a disposition allows for the perception of everyday life objects, discourses, and practices as aesthetic. These common, mundane, even ugly materials are then susceptible to tactical and strategic appropriation. Through an analysis of two culture jamming groups, Critical Art Ensemble and Ubermorgen, I empirically illustrate my application of the biographical theory of innovation.
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