Activist Knowledge: Interrogating the Ideational Landscape of Social Movements

By S. A. Hamed Hosseini.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Over the past three decades, there has been a rising concern about the ability of social theories to address the idea-construction (ideational) processes in social and political movements. This article argues that in spite of the recent growing emphasis on the cognitive dimension of collective action, many theoretical attempts and the studies influenced by them evidence significant shortcomings in explaining the (trans)formation of ideas and ideologies in social movements. These shortcomings stem from a failure at the metatheoretical level, that is, their failure to hold an integrative and interdisciplinary approach to comprehending the relation between changing social structures, dynamic patterns of experience and the social consciousness of actors. In proposing a solution, the article starts with defining the ideational landscape of social movements by introducing the concept of 'activist knowledge'. Then, it will argue for the necessity of developing an integrative, interdisciplinary, meta-theoretical framework through a radical reconstruction of old metaphors like agency and structure in the light of the recent global changes.

Keywords: Social Movements, Activism, Sociology of Knowledge, Critical Realism, Ideology, Globalization

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.339-358. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 677.873KB).

Dr. S. A. Hamed Hosseini

Assistant Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Dr. S. A. Hamed Hosseini is a Lecturer and a Faculty Associated Researcher at The Research Institute for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing (RISIW), and Humanities Research Institute (HRI), The University of Newcastle, Australia. He completed his PhD in Sociology and Global Studies (2006) at the Australian National University (ANU). He has conducted research on transnational social movements, global social change, globalist ideologies, Islamism, and transnational identities. Since 2003, he has been teaching at the Australian National University, University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales, and the University of Newcastle. His new book, Alternative Globalizations (2010), establishes a new theory of the (trans)formation of ideas, identities, and solidarities in recent oppositions to capitalist globalization and its ideological foundations. He has won research grants including the 2010 Bilateral Grant from the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

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