Complexity and Social Movements
Multitudes at the Edge of Chaos
Routledge – 2006 – 196 pages
Fusing two key concerns of contemporary sociology: globalization and its discontents, and the 'complexity turn' in social theory, authors Chesters and Welsh utilize complexity theory to analyze the shifting constellation of social movement networks that constitute opposition to neo-liberal globalization. They explore how seemingly chaotic and highly differentiated social actors interacting globally through computer mediated communications, face-to-face gatherings and protests constitute a 'multitude' not easily grasped through established models of social and political change.
Drawing upon extensive empirical research and utilizing concepts drawn from the natural and social sciences this book suggests a framework for understanding mobilization, identity formation and information flows in global social movements operating within complex societies. It suggests that this 'movement of movements' exhibits an emergent order on the edge of chaos, a turbulence that is recasting political agency in the twenty-first century.
'This is the first seriously theoretical and empirically rich book I've found on the new global movements. It manages to bring together social movement studies, the neo-vitalism of Gilles Deleuze and complexity theory in one text'
Amazon.co.uk. - PhD Student, Cambridge
'…there is a lot to like and admire about Complexity and Social Movements…. The obligatory discussion (seemingly mandatory in books about ‘globalization’) about ‘global civil society’ is excellent and important, and other fascinating insights can be garnered throughout the book. The book would best serve as a text for a graduate-level social theory course or maybe a special-topics seminar on globalization.'
-Dana Williams, Valdosta State University, in Social Movement Studies, vol 10 iss 4
1. Introducing Global Movements 2. Prefiguration and Emergence 3. Reflexive Framing: Identities, Protest Dynamics and Technology 4. From Carnival Against Capitalism to Death at High Noon: States Fight Back 5. Ecologies of Action within Global Civil Society 6. Shadow Realm: Beyond Resistance to Global Nexus 7. The Death of Collective Identity? Global Movement as a Parallelogram of Forces 8. The Map is Not the Territory