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Common Alternatives

Creating Futures Beyond Capital and Carbon

Researching Collective Action and Social Change: Extending Michael Burawoy’s Extended Case Method

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Author: Thomas MUHR and Susana MELO, Habib University Karachi, Pakistan

Abstract Text:
This paper proposes a socio-spatial ethnographic methodology to research projects and processes of
neoliberal mainstream contestation. We build on Michael Burawoy’s extended case method and the notion of ‘global ethnography’, which we put in dialogue with theorisations of place, space and scale. We argue that a case can socio-spatially extend out beyond a particular place-bound ‘site’ or ‘case’ in order to account for multiple interconnected places at different geographical scales. This approach allows for empirically sustaining how neoliberalism as a project and as a process of social transformation is being counteracted and displaced in different geopolitical configurations. Muhr’s spatial ethnography of the construction of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America Peoples Trade Agreement (ALBATCP), as a distinct post-neoliberal democratic project, illustrates the deployment of our methodological proposal.

Group: RC48 Social Movements, Collective Actions and Social Change
Session Selection: Future(s) of Democracy in the Post-Neoliberal
Era: Problems, Protests, and Prospects

Presentation at ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, 15-21 July 2018

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