Assessing the Transformative Significance of Movements & Activism: Lessons from A Postcapitalist Politics
AbstractHow do researchers and/or practitioners know when change efforts are bringing about significant
transformation? Here we draw on a theory of change put forward by the feminist economic
geographers, Julie Graham and Katherine Gibson. Proposing “a postcapitalist politics” that
builds on possibility rather than probability, they direct theoretical attention and community
engaged action research to recognizing and supporting non-capitalist economic practices and
sensibilities that already exist despite the dominance of capitalism that keeps them hidden and
ignored and to understanding the “reluctant subject” of change efforts. We enter into a
conversation with their theory of change by inferring criteria for assessing significance and using
those criteria in dialogue with two social movements we have researched: the feminist movement
in Bogotá in the 1970s and 1980s and the contemporary local food movement in North Carolina.
Lessons from these movements, in turn, help refine the criteria. Gibson-Graham are unusual – and
consequently resonant with cultural-historical activity theory and related social practice theories
of identity – in that they bring into dialogue theorists of the political and those interested in
embodiment and the micro-politics of everyday life enabling both to better understand and support
conditions for positive social and economic transformation.
How to Cite
Holland, D., & Correal, D. G. (2013). Assessing the Transformative Significance of Movements & Activism: Lessons from A Postcapitalist Politics. Outlines. Critical Practice Studies, 14(2), 130–159. Retrieved from https://tidsskrift.dk/outlines/article/view/9796
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