Neoliberalism and The Future of Social Movements (Studies)

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Learning Activism: The Intellectual Life of Contemporary Social Movements by Aziz Choudry. Toronto: University of Toronto Press 2015. 216 pp, $66 hardcover 9781442607910, $29.95 paperback 9781442607903, $23.95 e-book 9781442607934

Social Movements in Times of Austerity: Bringing Capitalism Back into Protest Analysis by Donatella, della Porta. Cambridge: Polity Press 2015. 216 pp, £55 hardcover 978-0-7456-8858-9, £17.99 paperback 978-0-7456-8859-6, £16.99 e-book 978-0-7456-8862-6

The recent resurgence of social and political movements, both in the Global South and in the West, has challenged some of the methodological premises and approaches of social movement theory (SMT). In her book Social Movements in Times of Austerity, Donatella della Porta, a leading scholar in the field, addresses the shortcomings of SMT by emphasizing the importance of class analysis and political economy in the study of contemporary social movements. She conceives of the current wave of protests as ‘anti-austerity movements’, which become increasingly politicized due to a global crisis of democratic legitimacy. This institutional crisis is, in turn, connected to global shifts in the structure of neoliberal capitalism.