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Alter-Globalization
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Alain Touraine xi Acknowledgements xvii Part 1 Alter-Globalization ? Becoming Actors in the Global Age 1 Introduction 3 From the first uprisings to the global crisis 7 A global movement 10 1 The Will to Become an Actor 16 An actor against neoliberal ideology 16 Social agency in the global age 23 Part 2 The Way of Subjectivity 33 2 The Experience of Another World 35 Resisting through subjectivity 35 Spaces of experience 37 Diversions of experience 54 3 From the Mountains of Chiapas to Urban Neighbourhoods 58 The Zapatistas 58 Barricade social and cultural centre 68 Alter-activist youth 73 From the Zapatistas to alter-activists 88 4 Expressive Movements and Anti-Power 90 A concept of social change 90 A social and subjective engagement 95 Illusions of anti-power and diversions of spaces of experience 96 Facing the political 100 Conclusion 104 Part 3 The Way of Reason 107 5 Expertise for Another World 109 Resisting through reason 109 Spaces of expertise 112 The ambivalence of expertise 123 Conclusion 128 6 Citizens, Experts and Intellectuals 130 Introduction 130 A citizen movement 131 Committed intellectuals 135 Theories of another world and practices of expertise 142 Conclusion 152 7 Reason, Democracy and Counter-Power 154 A movement against neoliberal ideology 154 Rationality at stake 157 Democracy at stake 163 A concept of social change 169 Conclusion 177 Part 4 Confl uence of the Two Paths 179 8 Tensions and Collaborations 181 Common problematics 181 Dichotomization: from tension to opposition 185 Absorption: tension erased by hegemony 191 Combination: tensions and complementarities 193 Conclusion 200 9 The Main Debates 201 Think local and global, act local and global 202 The movement-internal organization 210 Rethinking social change 216 Conclusion 226 10 Towards a Post-Washington Consensus Alter-Globalization 228 Reconfi gurations 228 Towards concrete outcomes 237 Climate justice 251 Conclusion 256 Conclusion 258 Notes 264 Bibliography 280 Index 302

About the Author

Geoffrey Pleyers is Research Fellow at the University of Louvain.

Reviews

"The question of how we can change the world cannot easily beanswered, but Geoffrey Pleyers has shown masterfully in thisbeautifully written and finely researched book that the way we nowimagine those answers in changing, in part because of the way thealter-globalization movement has altered our understanding ofourselves as global citizens." Henrietta L. Moore, Archives of EuropeanSociology "What is missing from much of today's media coverage of theOccupy Wall Street movement and related international strugglesagainst corporate globalization and Western imperialism is thequestion of where these movements have come from and why they'veall emerged at this particular time. Geoffrey Pleyer's book makesan important contribution to addressing the prehistory of theOccupy protests, and it can inform those participating in thesestruggles as well as students and scholars of socialmovements." Jackie Smith, Mobilization "Pleyers reconsructs the 'grammar' of the movement beyondthe habitual dichotomies of reform/revolution, action/structure,unity/heterogenity, and instead seeks to value the diversity of themovement through the social meanings shared by the actors thatcompose the alter-globalization movement in its struggle againstneoliberal ideology." International Sociology "An impressive book that demonstrates the differences of opinionover what a transnational movement like the alter-globalisationmovement shoul do to change the world and what changing the worldcould look like." Australian Journal of Political Science "Provides an excellent overview of the main debates within themovement through a meticulously constructed research programme [Pleyers'] thorough and balanced account of the developmentof alter-globalisation offers an immensely valuable resource forboth researchers and activists." Capital & Class "Now that it looks as if neo-liberalism has run its course, theresulting cracks and fissures give breathing space to alternativemovements and hybrid experiments. Pleyers' book opens up somevistas of these developments in the middle of a serious crisis, anddoes it from the ground up." Contemporary Sociology "The kind of book that students of the alter-globalisation movementhave been waiting for years for An indispensable read foranyone - students, academics, activists or politicians - who islooking for an elaborate and sophisticated discussion of some ofthe most crucial political issues of our time." Journal of Democratic Socialism "Utterly convincing and theoretically robust ... This kind ofscholarship is what the alter-globalisation movement and indeed theworld deserve." Giuseppecaruso's Weblog "This important book is the first scholarly account of thealter-globalisation movement. This highly original analysis of theway the movement is constructed around the tension between its twologics - subjective experience and expertise based on reason -helps us to understand not only the movement itself but also therole that the movement plays in inventing globalcitizenship." Mary Kaldor, London School of Economics "Pleyers has traveled the world to offer readers the mostsweeping look yet at this crucial global movement, including how ithas changed in the face of the recent crisis of the very capitalismit criticizes. By showing us a movement grappling continuously withthe Pyramid Dilemma over top-down versus bottom-up approaches, thisbook helps us think about the most basic issues of democracy andsocial change." James M. Jasper, City University of New York "An outstanding example of contemporary sociological researchthat rises to the immense demands of a truly global ethnography.Pleyers' book is bound to become the definitive account by acontemporary of the alter-globalization movement. Because of itsassured scholarship, easy familiarity with theoretical argumentsand intimate experience of the social movement it describes this isgoing to be one of those rare research reports that immediatelybecomes a student required text and eventual classic." Martin Albrow, London School of Economics, author of TheGlobal Age "Well-documented and relying on the most in-depth analyses. Thisbook presents a movement both truly global and adapted to theeconomic context of each country and region. The main contributionof Geoffrey Pleyers, and what makes this book an indispensabletool, is that he clearly exposes the mixed strengths and weaknessesof a movement which was, and remains, a grassroots movement inwhich activists from poor countries occupy a place observed in noother movement." Alain Touraine, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales,Prince of the Asturias Award 2010 "This masterpiece will be the main reference for those who wantto understand how the alter-globalization movement shapes today'sworld, how it modifies our perception of action, but also ofdemocracy, and how this new actor articulates local and personalmeanings with general concerns for the future of humanity. Thisstudy enables us to discover with precision the short, but realhistory, the aims, the functioning, the internal tensions, thehopes and the difficulties of the first real globalmovement." Michel Wieviorka, President of the International SociologicalAssociation 2006-2010, and Director of the Maison des Sciences del'Homme, Paris "The distinction between the way of subjectivity and the wayreason that Geoffrey Pleyers proposes in his book clarifies thedynamics and some tensions that we experience in groups andassemblies of the 'Indignados' in Barcelona. It is aconceptual tool that has been of great help me in groupfacilitation and positive management of conflicts, both online andin assemblies as it allows overpassing tensions among positionsthat seem irreconcilable and developing an empathy based on mutualunderstanding." David Leal Garcia, Indignado (15M) in Barcelona

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