• Complexity and Social Movements: Multitudes at the Edge of Chaos.

      Chesters, Graeme S.; Welsh, I. (2007)
      Fusing two key concerns of contemporary sociology: globalization and its discontents, and the 'complexity turn' in social theory, authors Chesters and Welsh utilize complexity theory to analyze the shifting constellation of social movement networks that constitute opposition to neo-liberal globalization. They explore how seemingly chaotic and highly differentiated social actors interacting globally through computer mediated communications, face-to-face gatherings and protests constitute a 'multitude' not easily grasped through established models of social and political change. Drawing upon extensive empirical research and utilizing concepts drawn from the natural and social sciences this book suggests a framework for understanding mobilization, identity formation and information flows in global social movements operating within complex societies. It suggests that this 'movement of movements' exhibits an emergent order on the edge of chaos, a turbulence that is recasting political agency in the twenty-first century.
    • Complexity and Social Movements: Process and Emergence in Planetary Action Systems

      Chesters, Graeme S.; Welsh, I. (2005)
      The rise of networked social movements contesting neo-liberal globalization and protesting the summits of global finance and governance organizations has posed an analytical challenge to social movement theorists and called into question the applicability to this global milieu of the familiar concepts and heuristics utilized in social movement studies. In this article, we argue that the self-defining alter-globalization movement(s) might instead be engaged with as an expression and effect of global complexity, and we draw upon a `minor¿ literature in social movement studies that includes Gregory Bateson, Gilles Deleuze and Alberto Melucci to illustrate our claims. This article uses a Deleuzian reading of complexity to describe the phase space of the `movement of movements¿, and its perturbation of global civil society through the iteration of sense-making processes (reflexive framing) and the exploration of singularities inhering in social movement `plateaux¿. Those transnational gatherings, protests and social forums facilitated by computer-mediated communications and the advent of unprecedented mobility which constitute a `shadow realm¿ that remains largely invisible to political exchange theories operating within the conceptual confines of the nation-state.
    • The death of collective identity? Global movement as a parallelogram of forces.

      Chesters, Graeme S.; Welsh, I. (International Centre for Participation Studies, 2007)
      This paper brings together a number of theoretical and political interests we have with the concept of global movements and the alter-globalisation, anticapitalist, and social justice movements in particular (Chesters & Welsh, 2004, 2005, 2006). The argument contained in this paper is that these movements are the emergent outcome of complex processes of interaction, encounter and exchange facilitated and mediated by new technologies of mobility and communication and they suggest the emergence of a post-representational cultural politics qualitatively different from the identity based social movements of the past.
    • Rebel Colours: 'Framing' in Global Social Movements

      Chesters, Graeme S.; Welsh, I. (2004-07)