Laboratories of Learning Social Movements, Education and Knowledge-Making in the Global South

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    , Birgül Kutan, Patrick Kane, Adnan Celik, Tejendra Pherali and Saranel Benjamin

    Publisher: Pluto Books

    Year: 2024

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 235 pages

    ISBN: 978-0-7453-4892-6

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This book explores the ways that social movements are important and overlooked laboratories of learning and sources of knowledge-making, drawing on the findings from a collaborative research project which took place in Turkey, Colombia, Nepal and South Africa.

It argues that social movements in the Global South, struggling in some of the most complex and conflict-affected contexts, can offer us exciting, innovative insights into the myriad of ways that movements learn and produce knowledge as they struggle for a better world.

These movements advocate for marginalised communities defending their basic rights to education, health, housing, life, dignity and equal treatment before the law, often fighting against state repression and violence. Learning from the inspiring frontline, grassroots movements is at the heart of the struggle for global social justice.

About the Authors

Mario Novelli is Professor in the Political Economy of Education at the University of Sussex, UK. He has published widely on issues related to the role of education in social and political transformation.

Birgul Kutan is a Lecturer/Researcher at the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex, UK. She has a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Bristol, UK and writes on issues related to contemporary politics and social movements in Turkey. 

Patrick Kane holds a PhD from the University of Sussex, and is based in Cali, Colombia. He has published research on social movements, human rights and popular struggles in Colombia. He has been engaged in international solidarity work with social movements in southwest Colombia for over fifteen years.

Adnan Celik holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from EHESS, France and is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), Germany. He has published widely on Kurdish issues, Armenian genocide and transnational political activism.

Tejendra Pherali is Professor of Education, Conflict and Peace at the IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, London. He has published widely on issues relating to education, social justice and peace building in Nepal and other countries.

Saranel Benjamin was born and raised in apartheid South Africa. Active in the struggle against apartheid, she later worked with the trade union and emerging social movements. She is a development practitioner, and is currently the Co-Executive Director of Mama Cash. She has published work on social movements, housing issues and feminist struggles.

What People Are Saying

'In social movements, people remake themselves and re-imagine their worlds - and learn how to do so. This powerful and inspiring book shows that movement education is not a luxury but a central part of effective struggle.' - Laurence Cox, author of 'Why Social Movements Matter'

'Grounded in an impressive record of scholar-activism, the authors take us on a rich and fascinating journey about the power of collective knowledge and learnings produced by social movements in Turkey, Colombia, Nepal and South Africa. It is a valuable, refreshingly accessible example of inter-movement solidarity and a much-needed tribute to the 'spaces of learning' offered by social movements, including alternatives, through praxes and in the ferment of social struggles.' - Salim Vally, co-editor of 'Against Racial Capitalism'

'This major intervention provides a fascinating account of how social movements in the Global South produce crucial learning and knowledge in moments of struggle. Important lessons to be learned for every activist in the Global North about ways of building peace with social justice.' - Andreas Bieler, author of 'Fighting for Water'

'Social movements struggling to overcome the injustices and inequalities of capitalist globalization, and its enforcer state repression, require the continuous construction and reconstruction of learning and other knowledge-making processes. This remarkable book draws on experiences from Colombia, Turkey, Nepal and South Africa, showing us that movements can become veritable schools where new strategies and ideas are tested and framed.' - Fatma Gök, Boğaziçi University

'A groundbreaking, accessible account of activist learning, transformative pedagogies, movement knowledge making and transnational research coproduction situated in the Two Thirds World. Given the global rise of authoritarian, ethnoreligious nationalisms, the situated insights into how these activists construct participatory and inclusive activist subjectivities, solidarities and organising practices across differences of gender, ethnicity and caste are particularly compelling.' - Nisha Thapliyal, School of Education, University of Newcastle Australia

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