By Sarah Maddison
Peace marches, protest demonstrations and campaigns for or opposed to each reason conceivable have lengthy been a part of the Australian social and political panorama. This energetic ebook blends the voices and reviews of insiders concerned with specific explanations with a much bigger photograph that analyses successes and screw ups, conversation of rules and social and political affects.
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Additional info for Activist Wisdom: Practical Knowledge And Creative Tension in Social Movements
They had hundreds of articles to read, and a multitude of arcane disputes to settle in their own minds. The American school of social movement theory clearly had a powerful and prestigious European competitor. French and Italian theorists had equivalent intellectual range and complexity; their panache and confidence could not be doubted. Their work prom- Theory and history ( 35 ) ised to explain the past and predict the future. Increasingly, scholars in the United States began to take note of their continental cousins.
Hundreds of scholars poured their careers into the study of social movements. Students struggled to keep up. Journals were established, prizes were awarded and grants were delivered. 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?
How could so many groups claim the streets? Were the students of Berkeley really stricken with anomie and alienation? Could ‘mass society’ or ‘deprivation’ really explain the sudden efflorescence of popular power? Suddenly, it was obvious – theory and reality had failed to meet. At the same time, a new generation of students delighted in the possibilities of radical action. They turned to their textbooks, hoping for praise and illumination. What they found were descriptions of ‘mobs’ and ‘crowds’; defences of ordered governance and condemnations of irrational protest.