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Moments of excess

By David Harvie and Keir Milburn


This article is a revised version of a pamphlet written to accompany a workshop on Moments of Excess, lead by Leeds May Day Group, which was part of the Life Despite Capitalism series at the European Social Forum, London, October 2004. The original pamphlet and the transcript of the workshop are both available at propose the concept "moments of excess" as a way of exploring and understanding various, heterogeneous “political”, “social” and “cultural” events. Importantly we suggest that this concept allows us to recognise the resonances between heterogeneous events within apparently separate spheres of social life and, indeed, between “events” and “everyday life”. We suggest that the difference between moments of excess and everyday life is one of intensity not one of kind. We show first of all how capital’s valorisation is predicated upon creative excess. We then discuss moments of excess proper, illustrating our arguments with the principal examples of punk and counter-summit mobilisations. Finally we relate moments of excess to other concepts of political theory and draw out some of its political consequences

Year: 2006
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