Bastards of Utopia: Living Radical Politics After Socialism

Maple Razsa. Indiana Univ., $30 (296p) ISBN 978-0-253-01586-0
In this novel work of ethnography, Razsa takes readers into the intimate world of protest shared by Balkan activists in the alter-globalization movement. With a camera in one hand and the other raised in solidarity with his subjects, Razsa hits the streets of protest in Zagreb, Croatia; Genoa, Italy; and Thessaloniki, Greece. He not only profiles individual activists like Rimi, Pero, Jadranka, and Adrej, but engages in “affirmative ethnography” by experiencing, alongside them, their public acts of defiance. The book’s cast of characters proves outspoken and sometimes violent, willing to don gas masks and wield Molotov cocktails during standoffs with authorities. In this manner, Razsa brings a personal note to his academic treatment of politics, protest, transnational movements, and globalization. The book cannot be read in isolation from the “remixable documentary” which Rasza shot in tandem with writing the book. Now available online, the documentary shows street life in Zagreb, protests in Greece, and everyday scenes in the homes of the protestors. This multimedia aspect is the work’s best feature, opening up the flesh-and-blood, gravel-and-teargas world of grassroots opposition to globalization. This book will prove a boon to anyone interested in understanding the diverse world of contemporary protest, as variously made manifest in the Occupy Movement, the Arab Spring, and Ferguson. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/12/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 312 pages - 978-0-253-01583-9
Open Ebook - 312 pages - 978-0-253-01588-4
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