Of power and laughter: Carnivalesque politics and moral citizenship in Lithuania

by Neringa Klumbytė

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By Neringa KlumbytėFull Article: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/amet.12088/abstract


(image:
http://americanethnologist.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/08/klumbyte-figure1-600px-300x200.jpg alt: Arūnas Valinskas, the speaker of the house, and Inga Valinskienė, a parliament member, during Dalia Grybauskaitė’s presidential inauguration in 2009, Vilnius. Photo by Olga Posaškova. Courtesy Arūnas Valinskas.

Arūnas Valinskas, the speaker of the house, and Inga Valinskienė, a parliament member, during Dalia Grybauskaitė’s presidential inauguration in 2009, Vilnius. Photo by Olga Posaškova. Courtesy Arūnas Valinskas.

) Arūnas Valinskas, the speaker of the house, and Inga Valinskienė, a parliament member, during Dalia Grybauskaitė’s presidential inauguration in
2009, Vilnius. Photo by Olga Posaškova. Courtesy Arūnas Valinskas.During Lithuania’s 2008 parliamentary elections, National Resurrection Party members dressed up as vampires, insane people, criminals, and prostitutes to gain people’s votes. They mocked the state and laughed at political elites and electoral politics. I argue that the 2008 electoral carnivalesque was a politics of becoming, a fluid and open-ended process that engaged communities of despair and promoted moral citizenship through laughter. It was a form of political opposition, grounded in future-oriented moral and affective reassemblages of social and political fields. This politics of becoming attracted new people to politics, reframed political debates, and challenged state policies, practices, and ideologies.