Out now: Insurgent Encounters: Transnational Activism, Ethnography, and the Political


The Radical Imagination Project’s co-director Alex Khasnabish’s new co-edited collection Insurgent Encounters: Transnational Activism, Ethnography, and the Political is out with Duke University Press.

Check it out here.

From the publisher’s website:


Insurgent Encounters illuminates the dynamics of contemporary transnational social movements, including those advocating for women and indigenous groups, environmental justice, and alternative—cooperative rather than exploitative—forms of globalization. The contributors are politically engaged scholars working within the social movements they analyze. Their essays are both models of and arguments for activist ethnography. They demonstrate that such a methodology has the potential to reveal empirical issues and generate theoretical insights beyond the reach of traditional social-movement research methods. Activist ethnographers not only produce new understandings of contemporary forms of collective action, but also seek to contribute to struggles for social change. The editors suggest networks and spaces of encounter as the most useful conceptual rubrics for understanding shape-shifting social movements using digital and online technologies to produce innovative forms of political organization across local, regional, national, and transnational scales. A major rethinking of the practice and purpose of ethnography, Insurgent Encounters challenges dominant understandings of social transformation, political possibility, knowledge production, and the relation between intellectual labor and sociopolitical activism.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Abbreviations xv
Introduction. Ethnography and Activism within Networked Spaces of Transnational Encounter / Jeffrey S. Juris and Alex Khasnabish 1
Emerging Subjectivities
1. Spaces of Intentionality: Race, Class, and Horizontality at the U.S. Social Forum / Jeffrey S. Juris 39
2. Tracing the Zapatista Rhizome, or, the Ethnography of a Transnationalized Political Imagination / Alex Khasnabish 66
3. The Possibilities and Perils for Scholar-Activists and Activist-Scholars: Reflections on the Feminist Dialogues / Manisha Desai 89
4. From Local Ethnographies to Global Movement: Experience, Subjectivity, and Power among Four Alter-globalization Actors / Geoffrey Pleyers 108
Discrepant Paradigms
5. The Global Indigenous Movement and Paradigm Wars: International Activism, Network Building, and Transformative Politics / Sylvia Escárcega 129
6. Local and Not-So-Local Exchanges: Alternative Economies, Ethnography, and Social Science / David J. Hess 151
7. The Edge Effects of Alter-globalization Protests: An Ethnographic Approach to Summit Hopping in the Post-Seattle Period / Vinci Daro 171
Transformational Knowledges
8. Transformation in Engaged Ethnography: Knowledge, Networks, and Social Movements / Maria Isabel Casas-Cortés, Michal Osterweil, and Dana E. Powell 199
9. Transformative Ethnography and the World Social Forum: Theories and Practices of Transformation / Giuseppe Caruso 229
10. Activist Ethnography and Translocal Solidarity / Paul Routledge 250
11. Ethnographic Approaches to the World Social Forum / Janet Conway 269
Subversive Technologies
12. The Transnational Struggle for Information Freedom / M. K. Sterpka 295
13. This Is What Democracy Looked Like / Tish Stringer 318
14. The Cultural Politics of Free Software and Technology within the Social Forum Process / Jeffrey S. Juris, Guiseppe Caruso, Stéphane Couture, and Lorenzo Mosca 342
Conclusion. The Possibilities, Limits, and Relevance of Engaged Ethnography / Jeffrey S. Juris and Alex Khasnabish 367
References 391
Contributors 423
Index 427