The ‘crisis’ performance of the Yellow Vests

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The Yellow Vests - Gilets jaunes - is a protest movement started in France in November 2018 that spread all over the world: Serbia, Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Taiwan... Despite having different roots and claims, these various Yellow Vests movements articulate their mobilisation around a perceived large-scale societal crisis built on a strong feeling of disenfranchisement experienced by the ‘People’. This feeling of disenfranchisement is related to economic and social injustice, corruption, inequalities, taxes and big corporations. Yellow Vests Facebook groups all over the world quickly became a space where this crisis narrative could be spread and sometimes become entangled with far right ideas, conspiracy theories, anti-media and anti-elite positioning.

I will build theoretically on Moffitt’s idea that “crises are never ‘neutral’ phenomena” but that actors play a role in the ‘spectacularization of failure’ (Moffit, 2014). Indeed, the Yellow Vests present a very bleak vision of society and spectacularize the failure of the nation. In this paper, I will critically engage with conceptualizations of the crisis narration and performance by the Yellow Vests. I will also discuss how the Yellow vests narrate and perform the crisis at the same time transnationally and locally by domesticating it from one country to another.
Period2 Dec 2021
Event title18th ETMU Conference
Event typeConference
LocationOulu, FinlandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational