Critical Theory and Contemporary Social Movements – Conceptualizing Resistance in the Neoliberal Age

The advent of an unregulated and financial form of capitalism, combined with a sharp rise in income inequalities and economic insecurity since the 1970s, appears to pose, at first glance, a significant challenge for the relevance of the works of first-generation critical theorists, which are often confined to an historically specific ‘artistic’ critique of the bureaucratic stage of capitalist development. Through an analysis of the various concerns and demands expressed by members of the alter-globalization and Occupy movements, the article nevertheless aims to demonstrate that first-generation critical theory can continue to play a significant role in conceptualizing contemporary forms of resistance by: (1) capturing the social malaise engendered by neoliberal capitalism; and (2) informing the practice of resistance in contemporary capitalist societies.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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