Social Movements Research and the ‘Movement of Movements’: Studying Resistance to Neoliberal Globalisation



This article explores the state of research on the ‘movement of movements’ against neoliberal globalisation. Starting from a general consideration of the significance of the movement and the difficulties inherent in studying it, it discusses the literature on the movement from within social movement studies, and argues that the response from social movement researchers falls short of what could be expected in terms of adequacy to the movement and its own knowledge production. It explores some effects of this failure and locates the reasons for it in the unacknowledged relationship between social movements theorising and activist theorising. The article then discusses the possible contributions that can be made by Marxist and other engaged academic writers, as well as the significance of the extensive theoretical literature generated by activists within the movement. It concludes by stating the importance of dialogue between activist and academic theorising and research in attempting to understand the movement.