Social movements, solidarity networks, and the quest for social change in the Latin American context: The case of the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico


TASCHA’s Maria Garrido is presenting her work on Social movements, solidarity networks, and the quest for social change in the Latin American context: The case of the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico on Friday, November 5, 2010. Join us at 11am in Mary Gates Hall, Room 420.

Abstract

The last two decades have seen a resurgence of civil society organizations collaborating with one another in the quest for social change. Fueled in part by the development of information technologies and the dynamics of the globalization process these organizations are finding alternative spaces of communication to voice their concerns and raise awareness of locally engrained social struggles beyond their borders. These alternative communication spaces, inherently, are also enabling civil society organizations to build local, national, and transnational networks with other actors working together against the negative effects of what they perceive as a socially predatory economic globalization process.

Engaging in different struggles ranging from women’s rights, indigenous rights, environmental protection, fair trade and more, social movements are becoming key actors in the search for alternative development paths that promote more equitable and democratic societies. Drawing on development communication theory and new social movements’ literature, I place the discussion of social movements’ networks and their impact in economic and social development in the context of Latin America.

In particular, I draw upon my research of the Zapatista Movement in Chiapas, Mexico, to illustrate the way in which the actors that formed the Zapatista solidarity network used information and communication technologies to collaborate and mobilize on behalf of the movement and, in turn, how this collaboration contributed to improve the lives of indigenous communities in the region. The research shows that this transnational collaboration empowered the Zapatista Movement’s struggle internationally and opened new spaces that moved beyond the exchange of information to facilitate coordinated action, the flow of resources to the Zapatista communities, and a sense of cohesion and solidarity among other social movements that found representation through the Zapatistas’ voice.


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