Social Fora: Representing Resistance and Alternatives? Critique and Alternative Interpretation From a Feminist Perspective
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AbstractThe World Social Forum is only one in the worldwide process of social fora, which mark a new phase in the era of globalisation. This critical form of globalisation from below challenges neoliberal hegemony and sets up a space to develop alternatives symbolised by the Forum’s motto, “Another World is Possible.” Collectively, the fora make up a part of the forces of global resistance, but in a more concrete way, opinions on resulting strategies and aims diverge concerning the foras’ character and function. At the same time, criticism is formulated inside the fora, leading to heavy debates. Among these critiques are feminist and women’s organisations arguing that the fora are strongly dominated by male activists and intellectuals while groups marginalised by hegemonic society and neoliberal rule are confronted with similar structures within the fora. Patriarchy, racism and North-South inequalities are reproduced in the social fora, weakening the prospects of another world right from the beginning. In this article, the concept of a laboratory will be suggested. This allows for the idea of a Social Forum Process and for integrating the dynamic of resistance that stems from our own entanglement in structures of domination to be sustained.