Understanding Southern Social Movements contributes to the theory and analysis of social movements in the global South. From the beginning of my academic career as a sociologist I was confronted with the unpleasant reality that much of social sciences were based on experiences and histories of societies in the global North. This irritating truth became more tangible when I chose social movement studies as my primary research area. I encountered lack of extensive literature on movements of the global South and realized that the existing publications on the topic have rarely studied Southern movements independent of Northern theories. The uniqueness and complexity of Southern movements seemed to be overlooked, as they were measured against ‘real’ movements in the North. This book is an attempt to evaluate and theorize groundbreaking struggles of people in Southern countries on their own terms, with a focus on their histories, cultures, structures and challenges. In the process it argues for the systematic inclusion of these movements within social movement theory. It does so by bringing together empirically informed and theoretically engaged research on a wide range of Southern movements. The original data presented on these contemporary Southern movements questions the utility of mainstream social movement theory. Readers will find different chapters of the book enriching in terms of social movement scholarship but at the same time these case studies will broaden readers’ understanding of Southern societies and their role in global transformations. Hence, Understanding Southern Social Movements aims to open up new vistas to comprehend the global South, collective action and global social transformations. A systematic engagement with Southern social movements draws a connection between the complex sets of state-society relations and diverse regime-types existing in Southern countries. These interactions and structures foster wide-ranging movement types, goals, strategies, challenges and obstacles which are innately different from their Northern counterparts. Examining the multifaceted processes of emergence and development of social movements in the South, which in many instances function in very challenging circumstances have kept me fascinated with the topic. I remain interested in situating these movements within political, cultural and social structures of their regions as well as wider social and historical background. I find this a necessary step towards generating a new understanding of collective struggles and social change in specific regions and on a global scale. I hope this book provides an introduction towards this goal and a stimulating platform for students, academics and activists.
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Southern social movements have played an important role in shaping world history and politics. Nevertheless, scholarly literature on movements of the global South remains limited and restricted to testing the social movement theory which was developed in the North. This Northern-centric approach…
Hardback – 2016-02-15
Routledge Advances in Sociology