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Geographies of transnational solidarity

This book provides a critical investigation of what has been termed the ‘global justice movement’. Through a detailed study of a grassroots peasants' network in Asia (People's Global Action); an international trade union network (the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and General Workers); and the Social Forum process, it analyses some of the global justice movement's component parts, operational networks and their respective dynamics, strategies and practices. The authors argue that the emergence of new globally connected forms of collective action against neoliberal globalisation are indicative of a range of variously place-specific forms of political agency that coalesce across geographic space at particular times, in specific places and in a variety of ways. They also argue that, rather than being indicative of a coherent ‘movement’, such forms of political agency contain many political and geographical fissures and fault-lines, and are best conceived of as ‘global justice networks’: overlapping, interacting, competing and differentially placed and resourced networks that articulate demands for social, economic and environmental justice. Such networks, and the social movements that comprise them, characterise emergent forms of trans-national political agency. The authors argue that the role of key geographical concepts of space, place and scale are crucial to an understanding of the operational dynamics of such networks. Such an analysis challenges key current assumptions in the literature about the emergence of a global civil society.

Fighting the Mafia in Palermo

This book concentrates on a central issue in research on democratic processes: the development of generalised trust. The existence of generalised trust and confidence in a society is decisive for economic development and an effective democracy. Is it possible to fight persistent values of distrust and non-cooperation? Is it possible to support the development of generalised trust through public action and education? The book addresses these questions by examining political efforts to combat Palermo's Mafia-controlled heritage and to turn a tradition of non-cooperation and distrust into cooperation and trust. In particular, it focuses on the school program launched by Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo, during the mid-1990s, which was designed to break the Mafia's territorial and mental control, to restore citizens' rights and to promote a civic consciousness based on the rule of law. Combining theories on social capital and civic education, the book presents and analyses quantitative and qualitative research carried out in seven public schools in Palermo, some situated in extremely difficult areas dominated by drugs, violence and organised crime.