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The Diss...


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Movement Intellectuals and Imagination as Method

(This chapter was written to be an interlude in the dissertation, but it now not intended for inclusion.

It was presented at the Cdn Sociology Association meetings, 2006.)

The potential contributions of "intellectuals" for social movements could stand some scrutiny. Rather than a 'counter'-hegemony, Gramsci posited the need to create a new hegemony for the proletariat; this was, in part, the role of "organic intellectuals." I argue that contemporary transformative social movements seek an alternative hegemony. This leads to many possible roles for scholars-who-would-be-activists, but one is to help provide new imaginings of social reality. This is a task of what I call "critical conceptual imagining" as a method for social movement activist-research. To do this intellectuals must be recognized as "movement intellectuals," which is similar to but not the same as Gramsci's organic intellectuals. Examples are provided, primarily from environmental activism.

Randy Haluza-DeLay