CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Feelings of injustice and activist engagement are often associated, at times in a taken-for-granted fashion as one leads to the other in a sort of continuum. This article examines the links that surface between moral sentiments – a specific form of political emotion – and engagement. Using field research from the Middle East, it starts with a shift away from and decentering of current Western democratic contexts, towards coercive or authoritarian ones. Clearly, it is necessary to take into account the link between emotional intensification and political experience. However, this emotional intensification does not in and of itself establish an obvious continuity between the shock of certain experiences, a sense of injustice, and engagement. Activist expressions of a sense of injustice are in fact three-layered, acting as: the expression of a feeling fed by lived or transmitted experiences; a reference to ideological frameworks that legitimize forms of engagement while equally giving them meaning; and an inscription within a general moral argument.

  • activist engagement
  • political emotions
  • sense of injustice
  • moral shock
  • coercion
  • Middle East
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