Street Protests and Affects on YouTube Investigating DIY Videos of Violent Street Protests as an Archive of Affect and Event Desire


  • Christoffer Kølvraa Section for European Studies, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Carsten Stage School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark



YouTube, affect, protest, extremism, English/Danish Defence League


This article argues that YouTube, as a platform for sharing DIY videos, is an useful resource for understanding the role of affective processes before, during and after protest events. As a case study the article investigates the documentation on YouTube of two antagonistic demonstrations in Aarhus, Denmark, on 31 March 2012. We argue that the collected material, consisting of 71 YouTube videos, can be analysed to reveal a wish or will to experience the demonstrations affectively through three forms of DIY video production: 1) a form where the videos affectively charge the demonstrations before their actualisation; 2) a form where the affective potential of witnessing political violence is actively engaged, sought out, and enjoyed by the video producers during the event; and 3) a form where the affective intensity of the demonstrations is confirmed and prolonged after-the-fact, and the excessive nature of future confrontations implicitly ‘pre-charged’. The videos as such are not only approached as ideological mobilization propaganda or as documentation of political events, but also as an archive capable of revealing the presence and dynamics of the affective dimension of street protest events.