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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Federico Ferretti

The purpose of this paper is to contribute for the special number Protest and Activism With(out) Organisation.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute for the special number Protest and Activism With(out) Organisation.

Design/methodology/approach

Elisée Reclus (1830-1905) wrote in 1851 that “anarchy is the highest expression of order”. This statement, clashing with the bourgeois commonplaces on anarchy as chaos, anticipated the theories, elaborated collectively by the anarchist geographers Reclus, Pëtr Kropotkin (1842-1921), and Léon Metchnikoff (1838-1888), on mutual aid and cooperation as the bases of a society more rationally organised than the State and capitalist one. If a (minority) part of the anarchist movement, in the following decades, assumed this sort of “natural order” to argue that there was no necessity of a political organisation, many militants stated on the contrary the necessity of a formal anarchist (or anarcho-syndicalist) organisation to prepare the revolution and to put in practice the principle of an horizontal and federalist society starting from daily life.

Findings

The author’s main argument is that the idea of a public and formalized anarchist organisation has been consistent with the claims of the anarchist geographers for the possibility of an ordered anarchist society and that it was a very geographical conception, as the spatial and territorial activity patterns of anarchist individuals, groups, and federations was a central issue among anarchist organisers.

Originality/value

Drawing on present literature on geography and anarchism and on the multidisciplinary transnational turn of anarchist studies, the author addresses, through primary sources, the contentions and openings of the organisational question in anarchism from Reclus, Kropotkin, and Metchnikoff to the anarchist federations of present day, and its links with the issue of constructive anarchism and with the problem of violence.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 36 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Leon Ayo Sealey-Huggins

The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the forms of activist organisation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP16 in Cancún and reveals…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the forms of activist organisation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP16 in Cancún and reveals their attempts to create alternatives to a seemingly “depoliticised” response to climate change. The paper argues that existing attempts to challenge depoliticisation face problems in the form of governmental opposition, limitations on forms of organising, and internal conflicts between activists.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper utilises “scholar-activist” engagement with actors at alternative “popular” spaces established outside the COP16 in Cancún, Mexico. It draws upon extensive participant observation and in-depth interviews with 20 English-speaking activists.

Findings

Common among activists was a concern to try and model alternative forms of social relations, to the depoliticised and hierarchical forms found in the formal Conference of Parties, via forms of anarchist-influenced “prefigurative” practice. In spite, or perhaps because, of perceived challenges to attempts to organise their political praxis along non-hierarchical lines, many people were ambivalent about the scope of their action, revealing highly reflexive accounts of the limitations of these whilst simultaneously remaining pragmatic in trying to make the most of their involvement.

Originality/value

The paper helps us to better understand the potential to politicise climate change. Understanding the challenges faced by activists is important for trying to organise more effective political responses to climate injustice. It is suggested that we must understand activists’ responses to these challenges and limitations in terms of the pragmatism in response that allows them to continue to invest in activism in the face of unsuccessful actions.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 36 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 20 December 2019

Carine Farias

The purpose of this paper is to identify practices aimed at “passing the test” in fieldwork contexts characterized by reciprocal forms of symbolic violence.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify practices aimed at “passing the test” in fieldwork contexts characterized by reciprocal forms of symbolic violence.

Design/methodology/approach

It is based on an analysis of a fieldwork experience in an intentional community of activists inspired by anarchist ideas.

Findings

This study suggests that in a context of reciprocal violence, the researcher must qualify the specific threat that her presence poses and develop a set of behavioral practices aimed at neutralizing this threat in order to gain acceptance and gather valuable data. Three sets of practices – showing tenacity, disclosing oneself and adjusting while staying consistent – helped the researcher in crafting an acceptable status in the field.

Originality/value

Identifiable moments of hostile challenges should be addressed rather than avoided. They constitute indeed key gateways for understanding the culture and socializing processes of the observed group, and lead to relevant ethical questions regarding the ethnographer’s position.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 January 2020

Claire Jin Deschner and Léa Dorion

The purpose of this paper is to question the idea of “passing a test” within activist ethnography. Activist ethnography is an ethnographic engagement with social movement…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to question the idea of “passing a test” within activist ethnography. Activist ethnography is an ethnographic engagement with social movement organizations as anti-authoritarian, anarchist, feminist and/or anti-racist collectives. It is based on the personal situating of the researcher within the field to avoid a replication of colonialist research dynamics. Addressing these concerns, we explore activist ethnography through feminist standpoint epistemologies and decolonial perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on our two activist ethnographies conducted as PhD research in two distinct European cities with two different starting points. While Léa entered the field through her PhD research, Claire partly withdrew and re-entered as academic.

Findings

Even when activist researchers share the political positioning of the social movement they want to study, they still experience tests regarding their research methodology. As activists, they are accountable to their movement and experience – as most other activist – a constant threat of exclusion. In addition, activist networks are fractured along political lines, the test is therefore ongoing.

Originality/value

Our contribution is threefold. First, the understanding of tests within activist ethnography helps decolonizing ethnography. Being both the knower and the known, activist ethnographers reflect on the colonial and heterosexist history of ethnography which offers potentials to use ethnography in non-exploitative ways. Second, we conceive of activist ethnography as a prefigurative methodology, i.e. as an embedded activist practice, that should therefore answer to the same tests as any other practice of prefigurative movements: it should aim to enact here and now the type of society the movement reaches for. Finally, we argue that activist ethnography relies on and contribute to developing consciousness about the researcher’s political subjectivity.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 24 October 2018

Charles R. McCann and Vibha Kapuria-Foreman

At the turn of the twentieth century, various Socialist parties vied for a place in the American political system, making alliances where possible and convenient with…

Abstract

At the turn of the twentieth century, various Socialist parties vied for a place in the American political system, making alliances where possible and convenient with elements of organized labor. Robert Franklin Hoxie, an economist at the University of Chicago whose principle contributions lay in his writings on the labor movement, wrote a series of essays in which he scrutinized the activities of the Socialist Party of America as it appeared to be at the time poised to become a viable force in American politics. This essay examines Hoxie’s writings on the conventions of the Socialist Party within the context of the political dynamic of the period and reveals his interpretations of events based on contemporary accounts and first-hand observations.

Details

Including a Symposium on Mary Morgan: Curiosity, Imagination, and Surprise
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-423-7

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Breaking the Zero-Sum Game
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-186-7

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 19 July 2021

John Markoff, Hillary Lazar and Jackie Smith

Scholars have shown many ways that social movements and democracy are deeply connected. Here, we demonstrate a previously unexplored process by which social movements…

Abstract

Scholars have shown many ways that social movements and democracy are deeply connected. Here, we demonstrate a previously unexplored process by which social movements alter democratic practice. Democratic movements are often experienced as insufficiently democratic by the very activists who participate in them, impelling new practices. We present examples from recent research on democratic movements and then contend that this is a common occurrence. Building on Hirschman's analysis of organizational change, we develop a theoretical account of why activists find movements for democracy disappointing and try to correct this, either by transforming the organizations they are in or creating new ones. Hirschman categorized responses to organizational challenges as Voice and Exit; we define a combination of these we call Semi-Exit as a useful extension. We then show in some detail how both disappointment and creativity have been generated in two major movement arenas: transnational activism that links social justice with environmental concerns and the Occupy Movement.

Details

The Politics of Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-363-0

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 20 June 2005

Gillian H. Murphy and Steven Pfaff

The “Battle in Seattle” has been credited with giving birth to a new, more radical phase in transnational social movement organizing; yet evidence suggests it may be…

Abstract

The “Battle in Seattle” has been credited with giving birth to a new, more radical phase in transnational social movement organizing; yet evidence suggests it may be misleading to speak of “global” social movements. In Seattle in 1999, the contribution of transnational movement organizations was quite modest compared with that of conventional, nationally based interest groups that focused on local resource mobilization and ideational preparation. This suggests that the basis of the new “global” social movements may be the well-established process of resource mobilization by which organized interest groups provide support for local activist communities.

Details

Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-335-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1999

David E. Barlow and Melissa Hickman Barlow

Places recent trends in policing in the USA into historical context, emphasizing the critical importance of political, economic, and social forces on the formation and…

Abstract

Places recent trends in policing in the USA into historical context, emphasizing the critical importance of political, economic, and social forces on the formation and development of police institutions and practices. Specifically, this paper describes four major developments in policing in relation to the US political economy: pre‐industrial police, industrial police, modern police, and postmodern police. Each of these developments has unique characteristics. At the same time, each retains certain structural imperatives which transcend the particulars and ultimately tend to preserve the police as front line defenders of the status quo. It is through an analysis of historically specific characteristics of, and fundamental structural conditions for policing that this paper contributes to a better understanding of the potential of contemporary police agencies to play a role in achieving either greater social justice or just greater social control.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1989

David D. Laitin

The issue of linguistic autonomy is a central one on the agenda of Catalan politics within the Spanish state. In the transition from Francoism, virtually all political…

Abstract

The issue of linguistic autonomy is a central one on the agenda of Catalan politics within the Spanish state. In the transition from Francoism, virtually all political groups in Catalonia supported a statute of autonomy (1982) which declares that “Catalan is the official language of Catalonia, as is Castillian, the official language of the entire Spanish State.”

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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