The Politics of the Future: The role of social movements
Macmillan, $34.95 pb, 471 pp
Twenty years ago there was a fashion in American political science of putting together collections of articles under a generic title such as ‘Political Parties in Developing Nations’. As with so many other American fashions, this spread to Australia and the edited collection is now commonplace in the social sciences. The problem with all such collections, and it applies to this one, is the apples and pears syndrome – not all fruits are the same despite their common classification.
What Jennet and Stewart have done here is certainly worth doing and most of the contributions are worth reading. The question still remains as to whether movements in, for example, Australia, New Caledonia, the United States, Nicaragua and the Lebanon have much in common apart from their self-designation as movements. The title raises another query. Are movements examples of the politics of the future, or are they simply alternative and preceding forms of what eventually become institutionalised political parties?