Five Challenges for Prefiguration Research

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Initially defined by Carl Boggs (1977: 100) as ‘the embodiment, within the ongoing political practice of a movement, of those forms of social relations, decision-making, culture, and human experience that are the ultimate goal’, the concept of prefiguration has played an important role in social movement studies for almost half a century (e.g. Breines, 1980; Epstein, 1991; Polletta, 1999). However, with the rise of the Alterglobalization movement in 1999 and the invention of novel procedures for ensuring what Luke Yates (2015) calls ‘means-end equivalence’, the term has now also acquired a central position in activist communities around the world (Maeckelbergh, 2009). To this day, the perhaps most illustrative example of prefigurative politics is the Occupy Movement. Due to its persistent focus on consensus, participation, inclusion, and deliberation, the movement has been the subject of a plethora of prefiguration studies, many of which celebrate Occupy’s aversion from conventional politics and its ambition of changing the world without taking power (e.g. Pickerill & Krinsky, 2012; Brissette, 2013; Hammond, 2015; van de Sande, 2015).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventSASE 31at Annual Conference 2019: Fathomless Futures: Algorithmic and Imagined - The New School, New York, United States
Duration: 27 Jun 201929 Jun 2019
Conference number: 31


ConferenceSASE 31at Annual Conference 2019
LocationThe New School
CountryUnited States
CityNew York
Internet address

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