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

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 full of life e-book blends the voices and stories of insiders keen on specific reasons with an even bigger photograph that analyses successes and screw ups, verbal exchange of principles and social and political affects.

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24 ) Part One: Theory and knowledge In a series of studies, historical sociologist Charles Tilly showed that the form of political opportunities had a decisive impact on the patterns of collective mobilisation (Tilly 1964, 1981). He made ‘opportunity’ a key concept in his 1978 work, From Mobilization to Revolution. In 1982, the young Doug McAdam extended these ideas in a study of African-American politics. A new approach was announced. ‘Political process theory’ was born. An army of scholars ventured their own additions.

Asked Sue Wills how she led the battle for gay and lesbian rights, she made this particularly clear: Sean: So you thought you had … You sort of picked your target and your enemy and then thought, Well, this is the best way to get at this particular … Sue: Well, not in the sense of best way to pick from a list. It was in the sense of ‘this is the way that I know about’, rather than ‘we Practical knowledge ( 49 ) have these options’. It didn’t occur to me that there would be any other way. Skills should not be confused with ordered rules.

This researcher asked questions of the group and proposed sociological hypotheses. Together, the two experts enjoined the group to self-analysis (Dubet & Wievorka 1996: 60; Touraine 1981: 144). They helped militants develop a deeper view of their campaigning, forcing them to contemplate who they opposed, what they fought for, and how they might remake society: It is only through them [researchers] that actors can rise from one level of social reality to another and go from response and adaptation behavior to behavior of project elaboration and conflict.

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