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Title: Expressive free speech, the state, and the public sphere: A Bakhtinian–Deleuzian analysis of ‘public address’ at Hyde Park
Authors: Roberts, JM
Keywords: Public sphere;Free speech;Hyde Park;Bakhtin;Deleuze
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Social Movement Studies, 7(2), 101 - 119, 2008
Abstract: In this paper I explore how struggles around free speech between social movements and the state are often underpinned by a deeper struggle around expressive images of what counts as either ‘decent’ or ‘indecent’ discussion. These points are developed by exploring what is arguably the most famous populist place for free speech in Britain, namely Hyde Park. In 1872 the state introduced the Parks Regulation Act in order to regulate, amongst other things, populist uses of free speech at Hyde Park. However, although the 1872 Act designated a site in Hyde Park for public meetings, it did not mention ‘free speech’. Rather, the 1872 Act legally enforced the liberty to make a ‘public address’ and this was implicitly contrasted by the state of an expressive image of ‘indecent’ speakers exercising their ‘right’ of free speech at Hyde Park. Once constructed, the humiliating image of ‘indecent’ free speech could then be used by the state to regulate actual utterances of public speakers at Hyde Park. But the paper shows how in the years immediately following 1872 a battle was fought out in Hyde Park over the expressive image of public address between the state and regulars using Hyde Park as a public sphere to exercise free speech. For its part the state had to engage in meaningful deliberative forms of discussion within its own regulatory framework and with the public sphere at Hyde Park in order to maintain the legal form, content and expression of the 1872 Act. To draw out the implications of these points I employ some of the theoretical ideas of the Bakhtin Circle and Gilles Deleuze. Each set of thinkers in their own way make valuable contributions for understanding the relationship between the state, public sphere and expressive images.
Description: This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published article is available from the link below. Copyright @ 2008 Taylor & Francis.
ISSN: 1474-2829
Appears in Collections:Sociology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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