Understanding and Analysing Social Movements and Alternative Globalization

Authored by: Martin Weber

The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754671015
eBook ISBN: 9781315612935
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043546


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In this chapter, my main purpose is to contribute to refining our understanding of the role, significance and limitations of social movement politics in the global context, and to do so in such a way as to make what I consider to be an intrinsic link between ‘ethics’ and ‘politics’ in this context more explicit. The first part of the chapter tracks a range of problems in the contemporary analytical imaginary, and makes the case for a more thorough approach, integrating insights from critical theory, post-colonial thought, and recent developments in political philosophy influenced by both. In the second part, I provide a rough outline of this alternative approach and suggest a possible reading of emancipatory social struggle (which is really always political struggle), capable of sidestepping the problematic legacy of modernization theory within many contemporary approaches to sociopolitical struggle inflected by theories of justice. In the third and final part, I turn to the alter-globalization movement in order to suggest what an analysis thus enhanced may have to offer to those interested in gauging the ethicopolitical substance of the challenge posed by movements among this broad cluster.

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