Ambiguities of Activism
Alter-Globalism and the Imperatives of Speed
Routledge – 2012 – 138 pages
This volume provides a critical and in-depth investigation of the relationship between alter-globalist thinking and practices and their popular discourses. It examines the ways in which several alter-globalist activist groups (like Indymedia, no-borders campaigns, and forms of climate change activism), as well as left-wing intellectuals and academics (like Michael Hardt, Al Gore, Antonio Negri, Hakim Bey, and Geert Lovink), mobilize problematic discourses, tools, and divisions in an attempt to overcome gendered, raced, and classed oppressions worldwide. The book draws out how these mobilizations and theorizations, despite (or possibly because of) their liberatory claims, are actually implicated in the intensification of global hierarchies by repeatedly invoking narratives of transcendence, connection, progress, and in particular of speed. Hoofd argues that the humanist ideals that underlie all these practices paradoxically trigger increasing disenfranchisements worldwide.
"A spectre is haunting activism – the spectre of complicity. What worries this book is the possibility that forms of activism are subtly complicit with the very thing they oppose. Challenging the good conscience and self-congratulatory tendency of activism, this book is a deconstruction of activism in the spirit of activism. Essential reading for activists, academics, and those who wish to change the world." Jon Baldwin, London Metropolitan University, UK
"Hoofd’s book presents an essential critique and anti-dote to the utopian activism of the contemporary anti-capitalist leftists, such as Hardt and Negri, and shows how the ideas and practices of anti-capitalism may be complicit in the neo-liberalism of the speed elite." Mark Featherstone, Keele University, UK
1. Complicities of Resistance: Activism in the Era of Acceleration 2. Tools of the Speed-Elite: Radical New Media Activism 3. The Migrant: the Speed-Elite’s Daydream of Radical Alterity 4. Humanism Overheating: The Conundrum of Climate Change Activism 5. Accelerating Deceleration: Out of the Cinders of Activism
Ingrid M. Hoofd is Assistant Professor of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore.