• 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.
    • War Economies in a Regional Context: Challenges of Transformation

      Pugh, Michael C.; Goodhand, J.; Cooper, Neil (2004)
      Confronting the corrosive influence that war economies typically have on the prospects for peace in war-torn societies, this study critically analyzes current policy responses and offers a thought-provoking foundation for the development of more effective peacebuilding strategies. The authors focus on the role played by trade in precipitating and fueling conflict, with particular emphasis on the regional dynamics that are created by war economies. Their analysis highlights the darker side of the commitment to deregulation, open markets, and the expansion of trade routes that are key features of globalization. In each of three case studies¿-Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and Bosnia¿they examine the nature of the war economy, the regional networks developed to support it, its legacies, and the impact of initiatives to transform it. That transformation, they argue, a process central to the transition from violent conflict to sustainable peace, can best be achieved through approaches that recognize critical regional factors.