Resistance and reactions to neo-liberal economic globalisation and its institutions : exploring the 'anti-globalisation' movement

Holtz, Brigitte Elke (2002-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In recent years, so-called "anti-globalisation" protesters have become an expected, though to many an unwelcome feature at almost all meetings of international institutions and at intergovernmental summits. The protesters are usually portrayed as senselessly violent anarchists, ridiculed in the media as eccentrics and outsiders, while academics have as yet paid them little or no attention. This study attempts to determine whether the predominantly negative perception of the protesters is justified, or whether there is some merit to their concerns. The vague umbrella term anti-globalisation protesters tends to disguise the fact that many different and diverse groups are involved in the protest. Elements of social movement studies are drawn upon to structure the analysis of a number of groups that are represented on occasions of protest. The analysis reveals that the protests are well-organised, active in international networks, and rely very much on the internet to co-ordinate their efforts. From the perspective of social movement studies, the anti-globalisation league represents an interesting new phenomenon. This is due to its simultaneous presence in a multitude of countries, as well as its non-state focus. Effectively, the movement transcends state boundaries and state structures. The changing face of international politics is at the root of the formation of the antiglobalisation movement. A perceived loss of sovereignty and increased international multilateral co-operation has reduced the effectiveness of domestic and state-based campaigning and created an opportunity, if not the necessity, to form transnational groups that have international institutions as their focal point of protest. It is submitted that the movement may be a source for unconventional ideas that could go some way in addressing various problems related to the ever-advancing process of globalisation. This may be accomplished by way of greater formalisation of the movement, and possibly with support from other prominent voices who are not anti-globalisation activists as such, yet in essence share many of the concerns of the protesters. In this way, the anti-globalisation movement could develop into a credible entity to complement the functioning of existing international institutions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Protes aksies teen globalisering is gedurende die laaste paar jare 'n bekende, maar nie noodwendig 'n welkome verskynsel by feitlik alle vergaderings van internasionale organisasies en staatsberade. In die algemeen word die protesteerders beskou as gewelddadige anargiste, en word hulle in die pers as eienaardige buitestaanders beskryf. Academici het tot dusver ook nie veel aandag aan hierdie verskynsel bestee nie. Die doel van hierdie studie is om vas te stelof die meestal negatiewe opvattings van deelname in aktiewe protes teen globalisering geregverdig is. Die besware van die aktiviste is dalk realisties en nie ongegrond nie. Die vae begrip van anti-globalisering protesteerders is misleidend, omdat dit die groot aantal verskillende groepe tydens die protesaksies verberg. Beginsels van sosiale bewegingsstudies is geraadpleeg om die analise van verskeie groepe wat by protesaksies teenwoordig is, te struktureer. Hierdie analise wys dat die deelnemers aan protesaksies goed georganiseerd is, en dat hulle baie aktief is in internasionale netwerke, en hoofsaaklik op die internet staat maak om hulle bedrywighede te koordineer. Vanuit die standpunt van sosiale bewegingsstudies is die anti-globalisering aksie 'n baie interessante verskynsel omdat die beweging in baie lande teenwoordig is, en omdat dit nie staatsentries is nie. Staatsgrense en tradisionele staatstruktuure word dus oorskry. Veranderinge in die internasionale politieke arena is beslis die rede vir die vorming van die anti-globaliseringsbeweging. Dit word beweer dat die toename in internasionale multilaterale samewerking die trefkrag van aktivisme binne die grense en die konteks van die staat verminder het. Die geleentheid, en dalk noodsaaklikheid, is dus geskep om internasionale groepe te vorm wat hul protes op internasionale organisasies fokus. Die studie stel voor dat die beweging dalk die oorsprong van onkonvensionele idees kan wees wat baie van die negatiewe effekte en probleme wat verbonde is met die globaliseringsproses, sal aanspreek en help om hulle op te los. Voordat dit kan gebeur, moet die beweging egter 'n meer formele vorm aanneem, 'n proses wat beslis gesteun sal word deur groepe en indiwidue wat nie noodwendig anti-globalisering aktiviste is nie, maar wel baie van dieselfde belange het. Op hierdie manier sal dit dalk moontlik wees vir die anti-globaliseringsbeweging om "n geloofwaardige entiteit te word, wat die werk van bestaande internasionale organisasies sal komplimenteer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53031
This item appears in the following collections: