Abstract

This paper argues that the World Social Forum and larger Global Justice and Solidarity Movement of which it is a part are important sites for the elaboration of a new form of cultural politics. Although culture is often considered secondary or subservient to supposedly more serious political issues, various actors and practices, as well as the events of the Forum, demonstrate that culture is a key site for transformative political action. The paper argues that in order for concerned actors to both understand and develop the potential of the new political tools presented by the World Social Forum, and other actors critical of neo-liberal globalisation, we must dispel common misconceptions about the nature of culture and politics. We must recognize the centrality of culture to all political action. The paper considers both the way the Forum has been written about and particular struggles within the social forum processes that demonstrate the salience of these cultural politics.

Bio note

Michal Osterweil is currently a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States. She is currently working towards a PhD in the Department of Anthropology on the Italian “New Global” Movement. Her research interests include social movements, globalisation, resistance politics, feminist and post-structural theory, and the relationship between knowledge production and political change.

E-mail : osterwei@email.unc.edu

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