Research institutes dedicated to social justice – a global survey
Speaker: Bill Carroll
Date: Tuesday 15 January 2013
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College
Topic: Since the 1970s, economic globalization has fuelled concerns that democracy is being hollowed out as governments lose capacity to pursue policies that stray from what has been called the corporate agenda. As the effects of these processes have become evident, transnational social movements have developed, particularly since the 1990s, as advocates of a ‘democratic globalization’ that enriches human relations across space by empowering communities and citizens to participate in the full range of decisions that shape and govern their lives. Alongside and in support of these movements, alternative policy groups have emerged that research and promote democratic alternatives to the corporate agenda of top-down globalization. These are think tanks of a different sort from the conventional ones that advise political and corporate elites. Groups such as the Third World Institute (ITeM, Montevideo), the Centre de recherche et d’information pour le développement (Paris), the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam), and Focus on the Global South (Bangkok) create knowledge that challenges existing corporate priorities and state policies, and that advocates alternative ways of organizing economic, political and cultural life. They disseminate this knowledge not only via mainstream media venues but through activist networks and alternative media, and they often work collaboratively with social movements in implementing these alternative ideas. Alternative policy groups thus play important roles in social contestations that transcend national borders and that pose political challenges of great scope.