Ambiguities of Activism

Alter-Globalism and the Imperatives of Speed

By Ingrid M. Hoofd

© 2012 – Routledge

138 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415622073
pub: 2012-05-09
US Dollars$160.00

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About the Book

This volume provides a critical and in-depth investigation of the relationship between alter-globalist thinking and practices and their popular discourses. It examines the ways in which several alter-globalist activist groups (like Indymedia, no-borders campaigns, and forms of climate change activism), as well as left-wing intellectuals and academics (like Michael Hardt, Al Gore, Antonio Negri, Hakim Bey, and Geert Lovink), mobilize problematic discourses, tools, and divisions in an attempt to overcome gendered, raced, and classed oppressions worldwide. The book draws out how these mobilizations and theorizations, despite (or possibly because of) their liberatory claims, are actually implicated in the intensification of global hierarchies by repeatedly invoking narratives of transcendence, connection, progress, and in particular of speed. Hoofd argues that the humanist ideals that underlie all these practices paradoxically trigger increasing disenfranchisements worldwide.


"A spectre is haunting activism – the spectre of complicity. What worries this book is the possibility that forms of activism are subtly complicit with the very thing they oppose. Challenging the good conscience and self-congratulatory tendency of activism, this book is a deconstruction of activism in the spirit of activism. Essential reading for activists, academics, and those who wish to change the world." Jon Baldwin, London Metropolitan University, UK

"Hoofd’s book presents an essential critique and anti-dote to the utopian activism of the contemporary anti-capitalist leftists, such as Hardt and Negri, and shows how the ideas and practices of anti-capitalism may be complicit in the neo-liberalism of the speed elite." Mark Featherstone, Keele University, UK

Table of Contents

1. Complicities of Resistance: Activism in the Era of Acceleration 2. Tools of the Speed-Elite: Radical New Media Activism 3. The Migrant: the Speed-Elite’s Daydream of Radical Alterity 4. Humanism Overheating: The Conundrum of Climate Change Activism 5. Accelerating Deceleration: Out of the Cinders of Activism

About the Author

Ingrid M. Hoofd is Assistant Professor of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies

Cultural and media studies are now well-established as important academic disciplines and are inspiring new research into a wide range of pertinent issues. This series presents outstanding research in these subjects, helping to shape the direction of future inquiry.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Digital Media / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civics & Citizenship
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies