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See details. See all 3 brand new listings. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information From Bangalore to Seattle, Porto Alegre, Copenhagen and Dakar, citizens, indigenous farmers, intellectuals and dalits have contested globalization in its neoliberal form, proposed alternative policies, implemented participatory organization models and promoted a nascent global public space.

Based on extensive field research conducted since , Alter-Globalization provides a comprehensive account of these movements and their attempts to answer one of the major challenges of our time: how can citizens and civil society contribute to the building of a fairer, sustainable and more democratic world?

Book jacket. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Moore, Archives of European Sociology "What is missing from much of today''s media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement and related international struggles against corporate globalization and Western imperialism is the question of where these movements have come from and why they''ve all emerged at this particular time. Geoffrey Pleyer''s book makes an important contribution to addressing the prehistory of the Occupy protests, and it can inform those participating in these struggles as well as students and scholars of social movements.

Pleyers'' book opens up some vistas of these developments in the middle of a serious crisis, and does it from the ground up. An indispensable read for anyone - students, academics, activists or politicians - who is looking for an elaborate and sophisticated discussion of some of the most crucial political issues of our time. This kind of scholarship is what the alter-globalisation movement and indeed the world deserve. This highly original analysis of the way the movement is constructed around the tension between its two logics - subjective experience and expertise based on reason - helps us to understand not only the movement itself but also the role that the movement plays in inventing global citizenship.

Finally, chapter 10 will analyse the ways in which the core ten- dencies of the movement have been reconfigured since , in a period that is no longer characterized by the hegemony of neo- liberal globalization but by its crisis. First of all, chapter 1 will pose the basis of the argumentation by discussing the assertion of social agency as the central meaning of alter-globalization, emphasize the main dimensions of a ques- tioning and renewal of political citizenship and activism that marked the movement, and make explicit the methodological and field research choices on which this work relies.

Such at any rate, was the dominant meaning attributed to glo- balization at this time.

Their criticisms were levelled not at global- ization per se, but at the consequences of economic liberalization and market supremacy. Alter-globalization activists do not oppose globalization but an ideology: neoliberalism. Hegemonic throughout the s, the neoliberal ideology managed to L control the direction and meaning of globalization, tying the progressive transition to a global society to the image of a Pleyers—Alter-Globalization PYG With F. Hayek as their central thinker, they opposed the then dominant Keynesian policies and the expansion of the social state, which they believed constituted impediments to eco- nomic development.

From the beginning of the s, neoliberal- ism assumed a dominant role. This was symbolized by Mrs Thatcher taking office in Britain in and R. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, neoliberal ideology became hegemonic. The dominant, quasi-uncontested, interpretation of the events of was that they represented a total and definitive victory for market democracy.

Journalists and opponents of this ideology referred to the package of principles promoted by the IMF, the World Bank and the American Treasury as the Washington Consensus agenda Williamson, Driving these policies was the will to promote a purely eco- nomic rationality, liberated from all obstacles stemming from regulations designed to moderate the economic system.

Cohen, Placing the market at the centre of the organization of social life and international rela- L tions, the neoliberal ideology makes actors disappear in favour Pleyers—Alter-Globalization PYG This is precisely what alter-globalization activists opposed. The first challenge for the alter-globalization movement was to throw into question this concept of globalization, which dominated, almost without debate, in the mids. Zacharie, interview, The and global economic and finan- cial crisis showed they were right in much of their analysis. This conflictual relationship with the neoliberal ideology is constitutive of the alter-globalization movement.

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Alter-globalization

It is within a conflictual relationship with an adversary that a social movement constructs itself Touraine, Unlike a radical rupture between two enemies who seek to destroy each other, two move- ments in conflict rather than at war struggle over shared cultural values, issues and orientations. However, an objective analysis of the battle of Seattle, soon reveals the mythical and constructed character of this alter- globalization victory.

Cohen,4 than to the 30, protesters outside, ten times less numerous than those at the G-8 summit in Genoa. Nevertheless, the failure of the Seattle negotiations was attributed by the press, public opinion and even WTO officials5 to the pro- testers.

One could also note that the issues at stake in Seattle were hardly more important than those addressed at previous summits. In , the summit held in Marrakesh gave birth to the WTO, but attracted only limited popular opposition. Moreover, the alter-globalization movement did not originate in Seattle. Its mobilizations owed much of their impact and their very existence to the dynamism of already well-established alter-globalization networks, such as Global Trade Watch, the International Forum on Globalization, and ATTAC, which had already raised popular awareness about the questions at issue.

That the failure of the negotiations objectively owes more to disagree- ments among WTO members than to protesters changes nothing. The historian E. Thompson has demonstrated the great importance of myths and heroic acts in the construction of col- lective consciousness, just as W.

In this way, attributing the failure of the WTO to the alter-globalization movement validated the appearance of a new actor and inaugurated a period of strong growth. Two high-profile activists, which the following chapters show belong to two quite distinct trends of alter-globalization, can be quoted in this regard. The French-Spanish intellectual I.

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To rectify it, thirty billion dollars per year would be suf- ficient. It was impossible to confront poverty, impossible to have a foreign policy independent of the United States.


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Everything was impossible. But today, the world has changed. There is a new generation and now, it is pos- sible.

It is possible that people participate in choices as in Porto Alegre. It is possible to have independent media. We are con- structing an alternative to a culture which says that no other society is possible. Thus, while the omnipotence of the market and of economic globalization was proclaimed everywhere, with the corollary that states and, a fortiori, citizens had limited capacity to act, this protest movement insisted that globalization had not vitiated social agency.


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Two paths of a movement Along with other actors, alter-globalization has contributed to a profound shift in dominant approaches to political economy and to the transition to a global society. In a context where policy makers, structured political participation and representative democracy have shown their limitations in the face of global challenges, how did this global but heterogeneous movement manage to become an actor in the global age and against neolib- eral ideology?

Responses drawn from empirical observation yielded paradoxical results. Here are four examples: 1 In the course of our research on alter-globalization youth, our interest was essentially focused on particular groups, observed in London, Paris and Mexico, as well as at the World Social Forums and numerous international mobilizations.

The similarities in their discourse and practice were striking, though no formal link existed between them. These networks of urban youth, with an innovative and very individualized political commitment, all claimed a strong Zapatista inspiration. How to explain the appeal of an indigenous, rural movement, engaged in a struggle to defend communities, to very individualized, urban youth?

Hundreds of NGOs and advocacy networks had worked for months in order to be accredited by the WTO and thereby gain access to the negotiation centre, in the hopes of having their arguments heard by government delegates. He works hard. He has written seven books!

ATTAC, they are the people who speak on behalf of others. Benjamin, we know each other, but it really pisses me off when he speaks for me. Really, it is robbing others of their speech; he is out to lunch when he says that their points of view are better founded than mine.

These four examples constitute enigmas which are particularly intriguing because they resurfaced, in multiple variations, in each country where this research was conducted. Their repetition in very distinct contexts indicates they should be considered not as insignificant incoherences of a disparate movement, but as the result of structural characteristics of the alter-globalization movement.

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These paradoxes become intelligible once we conceive of alter-globalization not as a homogeneous movement but as an L uneasy convergence of two tendencies, one centred on subjectiv- ity, the other on reason, and both asserting the will to be an Pleyers—Alter-Globalization PYG The first tendency is based on experience and subjectivity and primarily assumes the shape of an expressive movement. The second is centred on expertise and can be con- sidered more of a movement focused on instrumental aims, ratio- nal arguments and a modernization purpose. Each of these paths constitutes a coherent whole of normative orientations and logics of action Dubet, Each in turn will form the subject of the next two parts of this book.

Before that, the second half of this chapter will introduce the major aspects of the alter-global- ization movement as a call for a renewal of political activism and its relations with other civil society actors. It will conclude by listing the main field research and materials from which this study is drawn, explaining their selection on epistemological con- siderations concerning a global, multi-sited and multilayered actor. Social agency in the global age Rethinking social change and social movements Alter-globalization embodies a call for the renewal of political citizenship and activism.

One of the major challenges facing alter-globalization lies in the reconfiguration of the political imaginary and, in particular, the conceptualization of social change. This means bypassing the classical idea of revolution as well as complementing representative democracy, which remains anchored in the nation-state Held, The two paths of the alter-globalization movement constitute two concrete experimentations in this perspective.

They establish practices through which citizens, movements and civil society attempt to have an impact on the course of things. In this context, the alter-globalization movement is inscribed in the continuation of reflections and recent experiences, notably those of the actors of emerging global civil society Kaldor et al. In the wake of changes wrought by successive waves of new social movements since , the alter-globalization move- ment challenges the forms of activism and the concepts of change associated with the large movements of industrial society Wieviorka, This is the case, for example, with trade unions, which often find themselves helpless in meeting the threat of offshore relocation.

Alter-globalization also represents a response to the profound transformations in the field of third world aid and international solidarity NGOs. Numerous NGOs were then solicited by interna- tional institutions to take up social services abandoned by states. Geoffrey Pleyers.

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It is a conceptual tool that has been of great help me in group facilitation and positive management of conflicts, both online and in assemblies as it allows overpassing tensions among positions that seem irreconcilable and developing an empathy based on mutual understanding. By showing us a movement grappling continuously with the Pyramid Dilemma over top-down versus bottom-up approaches, this book helps us think about the most basic issues of democracy and social change.

This highly original analysis of the way the movement is constructed around the tension between its two logics - subjective experience and expertise based on reason - helps us to understand not only the movement itself but also the role that the movement plays in inventing global citizenship. This book presents a movement both truly global and adapted to the economic context of each country and region.

Geoffrey Pleyer's book makes an important contribution to addressing the prehistory of the Occupy protests, and it can inform those participating in these struggles as well as students and scholars of social movements. This kind of scholarship is what the alter-globalisation movement and indeed the world deserve.

This book proposes to discuss it starting from concrete experimentations by social actors who have contested globalization in its neoliberal form, implemented participatory organization models and promoted a nascent global public space. It is based on extensive field research conducted since in Europe, Latin America and at eight world social forums.