The World Social Forum : A Critical Engagement

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Since 2007, CACIM has undertaken a new programme of work, entitled ‘The World Social Forum : A Critical Engagement’. This programme is built on the insights drawn from its extensive previous research and action programmes almost since the inception of the World Social Forum process in 2001, around the concept of open space, the dynamics of movements, and cultures of politics – but attempts now to more systematically and comprehensively cover this ground. (See details of our earlier activities, in these and related areas here : Programme Overview and CACIM Activities This new programme supplements and complements our other ongoing projects and past activities around the Forum, and is aimed at critically strengthening the Forum process – but without downplaying in any way the significant various other undercurrents and processes that take place within and outside it. It is guided, like our previous and other existing programmes, by a spirit of critical engagement – and hopefully also contributing to spaces for critical reflection, by those involved and/or participating in the Forum process : Of open sharing, dialogue, debate, association, networking, access, and participation. We see our work as attempting to create spaces for this engagement and reflection, and do this through organising meetings, publishing books and occasional papers, creating opportunities for study and reflection such as short-term Fellowships, supporting the making of films, maintaining related websites and listserves - and by generating debates in, around, and through all these spaces.

The programme focuses on three critical areas : Firstly, the impact and potentials of the ‘new politics’ that the World Social Forum offers; secondly, examination of Forum as a radical democratic pedagogical space engaged in creation of alternative and plurality of knowledge systems and challenging the dominance of scientific technological knowledge societies; and thirdly, exploring the organising principles of the Forum as a space based on its Charter of Principles.

CACIM @ WSF 2011