Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away

The not-so-naive use of naive monarchism by Russian peasants should give us pause about the analysis of those numerous occasions on which a rebellious subordinate group invokes the ritual symbols of a conservative hegemony. [...] In France and Italy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was common for insurgent rioters to cry, “Long Live the Virgin” (Viva Maria) and follow this with particular demands. As Peter Burke has observed, “But it is unlikely that all the rebels were unaware of the strategic value of shouting, ‘Viva Maria!’ a cry which like ‘Vive le Roi!,’ made their cause respectable. In that limited sense religious ideas were instruments in the struggle.”62

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Pussy Riot's "Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away", in this light, is the latest in a long line of attempts to dress up protests as respectable.


dom-art-resist Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. ↩︎ 1