This book analyzes the World Social Forum (WSF) in a context of crisis and transition in the history of Western capitalist modernity. Based on ten years of fieldwork on three continents, this book treats social movements as knowledge producers. It pays attention to what movements are doing and saying on the terrain of the WSF over time and from place to place, and to how they theorize its significance.
Framed by the Latin American modernity-coloniality perspective, the book critically engages with discourses of global civil society, autonomism, and transnational feminism toward a reading of the WSF through the lens of ‘colonial difference’. Each chapter outlines a set of contestations and contributions with relevance beyond debates about the WSF. It will be of strong interest to students and scholars of social movement studies; international politics; post-colonial studies; gender studies; sociology; political theory and social work.
Table of Contents
1. The World Social Forum at the beginning of the 21st century 2. New Politics on the Global Left: The Contested Praxis of Open Space 3. The World Social Forum as ‘Global Civil Society’ 4. The World Social Forum as ‘New Politics’: Autonomist Theorizations of the Political 5. Contradictions of Alter-Globalization: Feminists Theorize the Political at the WSF 6. At the Edges of Global Justice: The Global Left and Subaltern Subjectivities
Janet Conway is Canada Research Chair in Social Justice and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Brock University, Canada.
"A brilliant and challenging achievement: A subtle, sympathetic, yet deeply penetrating discussion of the WSF, that becomes a lens for understanding how power courses through our most admired institutions". - Jai Sen, India Institute for Critical Action
"This work represents the cutting edge of theorizing about the WSF process. It will make a vital contribution to ongoing efforts to understand the processes of radical global change". - Jackie Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh
"This book is going to be hugely important to the praxis of the global justice movement, feminism, autonomy, indigenous struggles, and the World Social Forum especially". - Ruth Reitan, Assistant Professor at the University of Miami
"Janet Conway gives us a fascinating, multi-layered empirical narrative of the Forum as it has unfolded in global, regional, national and local contexts". - Catherine Eschle, Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde
"No other work presents in so sophisticated a manner yet such clear language the highly innovatory yet deeply contradictory nature of the World Social Forum and the knowledge about it. [The book] benefits from a brilliant combination of critical commitment to the World Social Forum, of intense participation within it, and critical reading of the vast and varied literature about the WSF". - Peter Waterman, Author of Recovering Internationalism and Creating the New Global Solidarity
"Activists will find Conway’s book useful because, unlike other books that discuss the WSF, it interrogates the WSF from a post-colonial, anti-racist feminist lens. Activist scholars will appreciate the intellectual rigour that Conway displays in engaging with the scholarly literature on this topic." - Mandisi Majavu, Interface, Vol. 4, 2, November 2012