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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24862

Title: Open Networking in Central America: The Case of the Mesoamerican People's Forum
Authors: Reilly, Katherine Margaret Anne
Advisor: Deibert, Ronald J.
Department: Political Science
Keywords: Global Justice Movement
Mesoamerican People's Forum
Central America
Open Space
Collective Political Subjectivity
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2010
Abstract: This dissertation considers the case of the Mesoamerican People’s Forum (MPF), a Central American ‘cousin’ of the World Social Forum, and manifestation of the Global Justice Movement. It argues that the MPF cannot be adequately understood as a transnational social movement or as an ‘open space.’ Rather, it is best understood as a political playing field on which the leaders of locally rooted social movements contested the future of the Central American left within an uncertain and changing political context. Based on extensive ethnographic field work and grounded analysis, it argues that well-placed actors within forum spaces can best be thought of as ‘mediators’ between state and society. The emergence of de facto federated governance structures in Central America, plus weak democratic institutions, have placed new pressures on mediators. Leaders within the Central American left find that they need to build up and/or maintain power bases to shield their positions within an uncertain political environment. They mobilize people to participate in transnational forum spaces because of the legitimating benefits, but shape networked flows within these spaces to limit the potential for networking to erode established positions. Thus I conclude that openness is neither the condition nor the objective of social forums, but rather a pawn strategically deployed or retracted in the course of networked interactions. The work advances thinking about the nature of collective political subjectivity in an era of transformationalist globalization. It also argues in favor of critical realist perspectives on collectivization in a post-development, globalizing world. Specifically, scholars can best advance an ‘epistemology of the south’ by promoting and protecting cognitive justice, which in turn can be achieved through the use of realist approaches that serve to uncover the practices of power at work within networked spaces.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24862
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Political Science - Doctoral theses

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