On the Difficult role of Critical intellectuals in Social Movements

In this article the authors try to elaborate an explicit connection between social theories in relation to the role of intellectuals in social movements. These should view themselves as educational movements if they seek to be successful. By so doing they could avoid either inventing the wheel for the 2nd or 3rd time ‘afresh’ or moving into dead ends, which have already been explored by others before them. When social movements man to use leverage towards social change in efficient manner, then they require both practical political abilities and reliable knowledge regarding the critiqued society and its contradictions. Education is a pivotal means to both ends. The contemporary education concept of leftist movements often remains in line with the authoritarian ideas of a paternalistic relationship towards subalterns which one-sidedly attribute a privileged position to the academia in learning relationships and neglect open processes of self-learning of the people. In this theoretical article we discuss a wide range of theories from Hegel and Marx over Luxemburg and Gramsci to Bakunin, Ranciere and Spivak, which makes clear that such authoritarian point of view should be obsolete and an alternative concept has to be elaborated.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder 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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