Global Democracy and the World Social Forums

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The World Social Forum quickly became the largest political gathering in human history and continues to offer a direct challenge to the extreme inequities of corporate-led globalization. It has expanded beyond a single event to spin-offs in a variety of countries including the United States. The forums are an experiment in global and participatory democracy, bringing together networks, organizations, and activists from around the world to create visions of a just and liberated global society. All of the authors involved in this book have participated in World Social Forums around the globe. Recounting dozens of dramatic firsthand experiences from their attendance, these authors draw on their knowledge of global politics to introduce the World Social Forum process, explain its foundations, and discuss its relevance to ongoing transnational efforts toward freedom, peace, and democracy. In the new edition, Global Democracy shows how the World Social Forums have grown and developed since their inception in 2001 and how they are now connected with other global movements including Occupy, the Arab Spring, and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A must read if you want to understand the harsh economic conditions and the political meanness of the world…a cabal of robber barons ‘gone wild’ on the international landscape and the peoples’ fight-back to reclaim their humanity and dignity, to restore a safe and clean world environment and to create a fair and just world in which democracy works for all peoples.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594514203
  • Publisher: Paradigm Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Series: International Studies Intensives
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jackie Smith is Professor, Department of Sociology at the University of Pittsburg. She is also the editor of Journal of World-Systems Research. Smith’s most recent books include Social Movements in the World-System: The Politics of Crisis and Transformation, with Dawn Wiest; Handbook on World Social Forum Activism, co-edited with Scott Byrd, Ellen Reese, & Elizabeth Smythe; Globalization, Social Movements and Peacebuilding, co-edited with Ernesto Verdeja, and Social Movements for Global Democracy (2008).

Marina Karides is assistant professor of sociology at Florida Atlantic University. She is an active participant in the World Social Forums and Sociologists Without Borders. Her recent work considers gendered dimensions of globalization and the global justice movement. She has published articles in Social Problems, Social Development Issues, and International Sociology and Social Policy and multiple chapters that critically examine microenterprise development and the plight of informally self-employed persons in the global south. She is currently writing a book on street vendors and spacial rights in the global economy.

Marc Becker teaches Latin American History at Truman State University. His research focuses on constructions of race, class, and gender within popular movements in the South American Andes. He has a forthcoming book on the history of indigenous movements in twentieth-century Ecuador. He is an Organizing Committee member of the Midwest Social Forum (MWSF), a Steering Committee member and web editor for Historians Against the War (HAW), and a member of the Network Institute for Global Democratization (NIGD).

Christopher Chase-Dunn is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Research on World-Systems at the University of California–Riverside. Chase-Dunn is the founder and former editor of the Journal of World-Systems Research and author most recently of Social Change: Globalization from the Stone Age to the Present (Paradigm 2013).

Donatella della Porta is professor of sociology at the European University Institute. Among her recent publications are Globalization from Below (2006); Quale Europa? Europeizzazione, identita e conflitti (2006); Social Movements: An Introduction, Second Edition (2006); and Transnational Protest and Global Activism.

Rosalba Icaza Garza is a Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Iberoamerican Institute, Gothenburg University in Sweden. She acts as an external associate of the Centre for the Study of Globalization and Regionalization (CSGR). Her forthcoming Globalizations article is entitles, "To Be and Not to Be: The Question of Transborder Civic Activism and Regionalization in Mexico. A Critical Account of Neo-Gramscian Perspectives."

Jeffrey S. Juris is assistant professor of anthropology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University. He received his PhD in anthropology from the University of California-Berkeley, where his research explored globalization, social movements, and transnational activism. His forthcoming book, Networking Futures (2008), explores the cultural logic and politics of transnational networking among anticorporate globalization activists in Barcelona. He has also published several articles regarding this topic as well as the relationship between new digital technologies and grassroots social movements.

Lorenzo Mosca is Max Weber fellow at the European University Institute of Florence and collaborates in the DEMOS project with Donatella della Porta. Among his recent publications are "Contamination in Action and the Global Justice Movement" (with Donatella della Porta) in Global Networks (January 2007); Globalization from Below: Transnational Activists and Protest Networks (with Donatella della Porta, Massimiliano Andretta, and Herbert Reiter) (2006); and (with Massimiliano Andretta) "Understanding the Genoa Protest," in R. Taylor (ed.), Interpreting Global Civil Society (2004).

Ellen Reese is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California-Riverside. Her research focuses on poverty, welfare state development, urban politics, and social movements. Her book, Backlash Against Welfare Mothers: Past and Presents (2005) examines long-term transformations in the U.S. welfare state. She is also coeditor with Amalia Cabezas and Marguerite Waller of The Wages of Empire: Neoliberal Policies, Repression, and Women's Poverty (Paradigm Publishers 2007). She is currently writing a new book, They Say Cutback; We Say Fight-back! Welfare Rights Activism in an Era of Retrenchment.

Peter (Jay) Smith is professor of political science at Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada. He haspublished recent articles on themes including new communications technologies, globalization and trade politics, transnational organizing, democracy, and citizenship. His work has appeared in Global Governance: A Review of Multilaterialism and International Organizations and in numerous edited volumes, including eTransformation in Governance: New Directions in Government and Politics (edited by Mattie Malkia, Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko, and Reijo Savolainen) and A Hundred Years of Citizenship in Australia and Canada (edited by Pierre Boyer, Linda Cardinal, and David Heaton).

Rolando Vazquez is visiting fellow at the Sociology Department, University of Warwick in the UK and at the Sociology Department, Gothenburg University in Sweden. He has done research on the temporality of the political, by linking the works of Hannah Arendt and Walter Benjamin. In 2006 he published "Thinking the Event with Hannah Arendt," European Journal of Social Theory 9(1): 43-57. He is completing research on the temporality of globalization and on the relationship between art and the commodity.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Globalization and the World Social Forums
2 What Are the World Social Forums?
3 Who Participates in the World Social Forums?
4 Reformism or Radical Change: What Do World Social Forum Participants Want?
5 Global or Local: Where’s the Action?
6 The World Social Forums and the 21st Century Revolutions
7 Conclusion: The World Social Forum Process and Global Democracy
Appendix: World Social Forum Charter of Principles
About the Authors
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