This is a starting point for newcomers to the Grievance Project. Below is a summary of our evolving argument and research focus, updated whenever necessary as the Project and our thoughts develop.
We suspect that people’s grievances are being channelled away from the state and into “safe” avenues which are then commodified or “soaked up” within technologies of production.
The concept of “grievance” emerges from the Old French “grever”: “to burden”. Aggrieved people seek redress, or a lifting of their burdens. We suspect that Western democracies have shifted throughout the 20th century from a mechanism through which ordinary people might hope to find their grievances redressed through structural reforms, through to a contemporary present in which citizens are encouraged to seek redress outside of the state. We are interested in examining the ways in which “grievances” are constructed, inflamed, commodified, and ultimately channeled into “safe” spaces that do not trouble the state. We are concerned that contemporary thinking such as evidenced by those on the new right (see: The Fourth Revolution for example), itself echoing fears of an “excess” of democracy in the 1970s, seeks to diminish the long-held conception of the state as a means through which citizens might seek to operationalise their democratic concerns. Instead, people are now encouraged to act on their grievances through non-state channels, such as in the pages of newspapers, where those grievances are leveraged (e.g. news organisations crowdsourcing content for commercial gain) without necessarily being addressed.
Last update: 15/12/14