“Pregnant Time”: The Messianic Performativity of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo a7nd the 15-M Movement

  • Maria Ferreira
Keywords: Giorgio Agamben, Madres de Plaza de Mayo, messianism, time, 15-M Movement


Scholars around the world have discussed the ontological possibilities of transnational social movements. This article addresses these possibilities, highlighting how two renowned social movements have (re)constructed time as an ontological category through their performative activities and publicly argued beliefs. Departing from Giorgio Agamben’s work on messianic time, the article discusses how the Madres de Plaza de Mayo and the Spanish 15-M Movement (also known as the Indignados), have tried to recover the allegedly lost subjectivity of their members through the refusal to act in keeping with linear conceptions of time. These movements have tried to seize time and retrieve political personhood through particular spatial and temporal performativities. Both movements, which emerged in particularly traumatic historical periods, embody a non-linear and messianic understanding of time. The article argues, however, that the movements have translated this non-linear understanding of time through different messianic resources, namely, particular temporal and spatial performativities.

Author Biography

Maria Ferreira

Asssistant Professor at the Instutute of Social and Political Sciences
University of Lisbon
Cidade Universitária, Alameda da Universidade, Lisboa, Portugal 1649-004
e-mail: mjmfsp@gmail.com 


Agamben, Giorgio (1998). Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Trans. Daniel

Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Agamben, Giorgio (2005). Time that Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans.

Trans. Patricia Dailey. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Agamben, Giorgio (2007). Profanations. Trans. Jeff Fort. New York: Zone Books.

Beas, Diego (2011). “How Spain’s 15-M Movement Is Redefining Politics.” The Guardian, October 15. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/15/spain-15-m- movement-activism.

Bell, Duncan (2010). Memory, Trauma and World Politics: Reflections on the Relationship between Past and Present. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Benjamin, Walter (2003). Selected Writings, Vol. 4: 1938–1940. Ed. Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press.

Bosco, Fernando (2006). “The Madres de Plaza de Mayo and Three Decades of Human Rights Activism.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 96: 342–365. Brucato, Ben (2011). “The Crisis and a Way Forward: What We Can Learn from Occupy Wall Street.” Humanity & Society 38.1: 76–84.

Caruth, Cathy (1996). Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Della Porta, Donatella, and Mario Diani (2006). Social Movements: An Introduction. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.

Democracia Real YA! (2011). “Manifesto.” http://www.democraciarealya.es/manifies- to-comun/manifesto-english.

Elliot, Justin (2011). “Judith Butler at Occupy Wall Street.” Salon, October 24. http:// www.salon.com/2011/10/24/judith_butler_at_occupy_wall_street.

Edkins, Jenny (2003). Trauma and the Memory of Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer- sity Press.

Edkins, Jenny (2008). “Time, Personhood, Politics.” Paper presented at the Internation- al Studies Association Conference, San Francisco, USA, March 2008.

Foucault, Michel (2007). Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College de France, 1977–1978. Ed. Michel Senellart. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fraser, Nancy (1990). “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy.” Social Text 25–26: 56–80.

Gordillo, Gaston (2011). “Occupy Wall Street as a Node of Resonance.” Space and Poli- tics, November 14. http://spaceandpolitics.blogspot.pt/2011/11/occupy-wall- street-as-node-of-resonance_14.html.

Graeber, David (2012). “Occupy’s Liberation from Liberalism: The Real Meaning of May Day.” The Guardian, May 7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifameri- ca/2012/may/07/occupy-liberation-from-liberalism.

Jelin, Elizabeth (1994). “The Politics of Memory: The Human Rights Movements and the Construction of Democracy in Argentina.” Latin-America Perspectives 21: 38–58.

Kaldor, Mary, Sabine Selchow, Sean Deel, and Tamsin Murray-Leach (2012). “The ‘Bub- bling-Up’ of Subterranean Politics in Europe.” Civil Society and Human Research Unit, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. http:// eprints.lse.ac.uk/44873.

Klein, Naomi (2011). “Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Right Now.” The Nation, October 6. http://www.thenation.com/article/163844/ occupy-wall-street-most-important-thing-world-now#.

Lowenstein, Roger (2011). “Occupy Wall Street: It’s Not a Hippie Thing.” Bloomberg Business Week Magazine, October 27. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/ occupy-wall-street-its-not-a-hippie-thing-10272011.html.

Negri, Antonio (2012). “The Sacred Dilemma of Inoperosity: On Giorgio Agamben’s Opus Dei.” Trans. Jason Francis McGimsey. Radio UniNomade. http://www.unino- made.org/negri-on-agamben-opus-dei/.

Nyong’o, Tavia (2012). “The Scene of Occupation.” The Drama Review 56: 136–149.

Ojakangas, Mika (2010). “On the Pauline Roots of Biopolitics: Apostle Paul in Company with Foucault and Agamben.” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 11.1: 92– 110.

Passavant, Paul (2007). “The Contradictory State of Giorgio Agamben.” Political Theory 35: 147–174.

Prozorov, Sergei (2009). “Giorgio Agamben and the End of History: Inoperative Praxis and the End of the Dialectic.” European Journal of Social Theory 12: 523–542.

Rushkoff, Douglas (2011). “Think Occupy Wall St. Is a Phase? You Don’t Get It.” CNN International Edition, October 5. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/05/opinion/ rushkoff-occupy-wall-street.

Safa, Helen (1990). “Women’s Social Movements in Latin-America.” Gender and Society 4: 354–369.

Tahroor, Ishaan (2011). “From Europe with Love: US ‘Indignados’ Occupy Wall Street.” Time Magazine, October 5. http://world.time.com/2011/10/05/from-europe-with- love-the-u-s-indignados-have-arrived.

Thomassen, Lasse, and Marina Prentoulis (2012). “The Death of the Indignados Move- ment.” OpenDemocracy, May 28. http://www.opendemocracy.net/lasse-thomas- sen-marina-prentoulis/death-of-indignados-movement.

“The Price of Love” (2011). The Economist, November 26. http://www.economist.com/node/21540214.

Zizek, Slavoj (2011). “Occupy First. Demands Come Latter.” The Guardian, October 26. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/26/occupy-protesters-bill-clinton.
How to Cite
Ferreira, M. (2014). “Pregnant Time”: The Messianic Performativity of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo a7nd the 15-M Movement. Stasis, 2(1). Retrieved from http://stasisjournal.net/index.php/journal/article/view/65