Modes of Cognitive Praxis in Transnational Alternative Policy Groups

Friday, July 18, 2014: 3:54 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
William K. CARROLL , University of Victoria, Canada
Transnational alternative policy groups (TAPGs) are networks and centres within and around which counter-hegemonic knowledge is produced and mobilized among subaltern communities and critical social movements. Just as movements for global justice have developed and deployed their own collection-action repertories, TAPGs, as organic intellectuals to an incipient and inchoate global left, have created, in parallel, a repertoire of alternative knowledge production and mobilization (alt KPM). Based on in-depth interviews with practitioners at 16 TAPGs, this paper presents eight modes of cognitive praxis and discusses how they interlink in the work of alternative policy groups.  In combination, these modes of cognitive praxis can be seen as promoting a dialectic of knowledge production and social transformation: striving to produce transformative knowledge concomitantly with knowledge-based transformation. The eight modes are not sealed off from each other, but overlap and interpenetrate. Indeed, effective alt KPM typically means that a group combines various facets in a coherent counter-hegemonic project. The paper offers a comparison of the groups, highlighting the main modes of cognitive praxis each employs. Amid the diversity in KPM practices and projects, the comparison evidences tracings of a double dialectic in the cognitive praxis of alt policy groups: a dialectic of theory and practice, and one of dialogue. I conclude that it is in a forward movement – fostering solidaristic dialogue among counterpublics in combination with the iterative integration of theory and practice – that alternative knowledge can not only thrive, but have a transformative impact.