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Risking Speech

Risking Speech

A research project into the everyday lives of free speech.

When and how can speech be ‘free’? With what consequences? Why and how does this come to matter differently to people in particular social and historical contexts? And what, if anything, is distinctive about Europe in this regard? Free speech has long been a topic that has attracted extensive and sustained theoretical attention, definition and critical discussion in the fields of legal studies, philosophy and political science. Yet our understanding of how people relate to free speech in their everyday lives in concrete historical and geographic contexts remains paradoxically scant. 

This five-year ethnographic and comparative project will study the ethics, epistemics, politics and material-semiotic infrastructures of freedom of speech in a range of locations in and beyond Europe. Our aim is to enquire into the way free speech is lived on the ground by activists, teachers, politicians, intellectuals and artists in times of crisis and political transformation in Europe and beyond.

The project is funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant (Situating Free Speech: European Parrhesia in Comparative perspective). It is based at the Division of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge 

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