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Download Activist Wisdom: Practical Knowledge And Creative Tension in by Sarah Maddison PDF

By Sarah Maddison

Peace marches, protest demonstrations and campaigns for or opposed to each reason that you can think of have lengthy been a part of the Australian social and political panorama. This energetic ebook blends the voices and stories of insiders excited about specific reasons with an even bigger photo that analyses successes and screw ups, verbal exchange of principles and social and political affects.

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As brows furrowed and papers piled up, the most committed scholars developed a forbidding expertise. New terms multiplied. Theories of ever-increasing sophistication passed from Theory and history ( 27 ) pen to paper. But did anyone fully understand why activists got together? And could radical students really learn any more about the history of political tactics? Sadly, the answer was not obvious. Had concentration bred isolation? What had really been achieved? Did European scholars have a better answer to these questions?

26 ) Part One: Theory and knowledge Now, ‘opportunities’ were out; with them went ‘structures’, ‘cycles’ and a cluster of old questions. The new order focused on ‘contention’: the making of political claims. The aim was to build a theory that focused on the relationships that underpinned contention. No longer would scholars search for regular patterns, such as a ‘cycle of protest’. This was condemned as the search for an ‘invariant model’. Instead, the best research would attempt to locate the mechanisms that shaped struggles and interactions of all kinds.

Here, external observation was impossible. Radical students argued, contested and disputed with their professors. On the streets of Paris, they yelled for Althusser. In Nanterre, they rebutted Touraine (Cohn-Bendit et al. 1969). The academic body and the student body shared a political conversation. Change seemed more immediate and complete. Young revolutionaries went further; old workers were roused onto the streets. Measured accounts of ‘resource mobilisation’ and cost-benefit analyses could not have been more out of place.

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