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Introduction

Performance, Power, Exclusion, and Expansion in Anthropological Accounts of Protests

Aet Annist

Abstract

This introductory article offers a theoretical frame for the current special section, discussing protests’ value for analyzing performance, power, expansion, and exclusion, and contributes its own case study from the ongoing anti-logging protests in Estonia. While arising from power imbalances, protests hold powerful tools for achieving their aims. The introduction considers protests’ ability to expand in space, through time, and beyond topics, and to capture wider support, creating communities in the process. At the same time, considering the contexts of protests, it also demonstrates how such movements get caught up in the normative features of human sociality, reproducing the existing power relations, including those the protests aim to challenge. The Estonian case study enables further insight into this by analyzing dispossessions that protests both aggravate and suffer from.