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Occupy Pittsburgh and the Challenges of Participatory Democracy

Smith, J and Glidden, B (2012) Occupy Pittsburgh and the Challenges of Participatory Democracy. Social Movement Studies, 11 (3-4). 288 - 294. ISSN 1474-2837

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Local manifestations of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) have emerged around the world with enthusiasm for the participatory style used in Zuccotti Park (New York). However, less attention has been paid to earlier lessons about the limits of these techniques for building diverse and sustainable movements. Much of the discussion in the USA ignores how OWS is connected to the long-term and global struggle against corporate-led globalization. Also, models of consensus practiced in many OWS sites have become reified to the verge of fetishization. Activists in the USA have yet to effectively incorporate many lessons from global justice activism including the need for a global analysis and strategy as well as greater sensitivity to how consensus practices can exclude people most harmed by the structures the movement opposes. This study draws from our involvement in Occupy Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) and in the US Social Forum and World Social Forum (WSF) to compare the participatory democratic practices in each setting and identify lessons about organizing broad coalitions against capitalist globalization. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Smith, Jjgsmith@pitt.eduJGSMITH0000-0002-4808-0391
Glidden, B
Date: 1 August 2012
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: Social Movement Studies
Volume: 11
Number: 3-4
Page Range: 288 - 294
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1080/14742837.2012.704182
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1474-2837
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2014 22:19
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2019 06:55


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