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Space vs. Movement: Collective Identity at the World Social Forum

Predmore, Signe LU (2013) SIMV09 20131
Graduate School
Master of Science in Global Studies
Social Anthropology
Abstract
From its beginnings in 2001, the World Social Forum (WSF) has gained notice as a manifestation of ‘grassroots globalization.’ Is this new political formation of transnational activists an open space for organizations to gather, or does it constitute a social movement itself? The present study examines this debate among analysts and participants, using ethnographic data collected via participant-observation at the 2013 WSF in Tunis, interviews with attendees of recent WSFs, published materials distributed at the WSF, media and academic articles, and discussions on web forums. The “space vs. movement” discussion is interpreted as a struggle to define the collective identity of Forum participants. The characteristics of these competing... (More)
From its beginnings in 2001, the World Social Forum (WSF) has gained notice as a manifestation of ‘grassroots globalization.’ Is this new political formation of transnational activists an open space for organizations to gather, or does it constitute a social movement itself? The present study examines this debate among analysts and participants, using ethnographic data collected via participant-observation at the 2013 WSF in Tunis, interviews with attendees of recent WSFs, published materials distributed at the WSF, media and academic articles, and discussions on web forums. The “space vs. movement” discussion is interpreted as a struggle to define the collective identity of Forum participants. The characteristics of these competing identities are established through examination of the social action of participants at the Forum, as well as their articulated understandings of what the Forum is, and what it ideally could be. Reference and comparisons are made with other theoretical conceptions of collective identity at the WSF, particularly Kohler’s (2006) transnational identity and Tarrow’s (2005) rooted cosmopolitanism. I conclude that the assertion of a transnational activism grounded in rooted identities has been one of the main results of the WSF process so far, but this often conflicts with the ongoing impulse for strategic directness and definition of a collective political agenda. (Less)
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author
Predmore, Signe LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMV09 20131
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
World Social Forum, collective identity, transnational social movements, coalition, anti-globalization, civil society
language
English
id
3812890
date added to LUP
2013-06-14 12:05:39
date last changed
2014-04-22 10:42:25
@misc{3812890,
  abstract     = {From its beginnings in 2001, the World Social Forum (WSF) has gained notice as a manifestation of ‘grassroots globalization.’ Is this new political formation of transnational activists an open space for organizations to gather, or does it constitute a social movement itself? The present study examines this debate among analysts and participants, using ethnographic data collected via participant-observation at the 2013 WSF in Tunis, interviews with attendees of recent WSFs, published materials distributed at the WSF, media and academic articles, and discussions on web forums. The “space vs. movement” discussion is interpreted as a struggle to define the collective identity of Forum participants. The characteristics of these competing identities are established through examination of the social action of participants at the Forum, as well as their articulated understandings of what the Forum is, and what it ideally could be. Reference and comparisons are made with other theoretical conceptions of collective identity at the WSF, particularly Kohler’s (2006) transnational identity and Tarrow’s (2005) rooted cosmopolitanism. I conclude that the assertion of a transnational activism grounded in rooted identities has been one of the main results of the WSF process so far, but this often conflicts with the ongoing impulse for strategic directness and definition of a collective political agenda.},
  author       = {Predmore, Signe},
  keyword      = {World Social Forum,collective identity,transnational social movements,coalition,anti-globalization,civil society},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Space vs. Movement: Collective Identity at the World Social Forum},
  year         = {2013},
}