I should be writing a conference presentation. It is nearly done, I promise, but I entered a bit of a wormhole of thinking as I am unsatisfied with the ideas presented so far in what I intend to cover (I mean when are we ever satisfied as academics). I have been reading different studies of processions and parades for a while now and there seems to often be two lines of thought – processions are about order or, they are about disorder. This thinking has been taken up by Sam Griffith’s in his work on procession is Sheffield where he critiques that this ordering is imposed on the urban context but rather emerges from it (ok it is a much more nuanced debate than that and I highly recommend reading his work). However, if we take a protest march as a processional form the intention or the function is one of disobedience or disorder. However, by its very nature, a procession is an ordered movement through space. Whilst their may be flashes of disobedience in these marches one must proceed forward in alignment with the other marchers (Maxine Sheets-Johnstone’s work on movement in concert is important here). So, there is a tension here between form and function of the protest march?
Also, as I have been working on for a while order is not maintained in terms of the same processional form year on year. There is slight disorder (or lines of flight – nods to D&G) which keeps the procession functioning year on year – minor adaptions (intentional and unintentional) which ensures the future is secured for the form of procession.
What I am trying to unpick is how can you capture this ordering and, or, and, or, and, or disorder (again – doffs cap at D&G)? What forms of language or visualisation can be sought to understand how this takes place. I feel like this is somehow a part of why processional forms are compelling. At present, I am looking at a topological analysis of processions to account for this structure and change all at once in the same space – open to ideas dear reader!!