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Activist Wisdom: Practical Knowledge and Creative Tension in Social Movements by Sarah Maddison and Sean Scalmer

by
December 2006–January 2007, no. 287

Activist Wisdom: Practical Knowledge and Creative Tension in Social Movements by Sarah Maddison and Sean Scalmer

UNSW Press, $39.95 pb, 284 pp, 0868406864

Activist Wisdom: Practical Knowledge and Creative Tension in Social Movements by Sarah Maddison and Sean Scalmer

by
December 2006–January 2007, no. 287

Activist Wisdom is the latest addition to the field of studies about Australian social movements. The authors, Sarah Maddison and Sean Scalmer, are academics who aim to take ‘knowledge from the streets back into the academy’. They try to do this by considering how ‘practical knowledge’ (that is, the knowledge that activists have gained ‘from experience’) has contributed to the survival of different movements.

Throughout the book, Maddison and Scalmer provide excerpts from interviews with a range of activists. These include feminists, indigenous rights campaigners, gay and lesbian liberationists, and those under the (albeit rather broad) rubric of ‘anti-capitalists’. The authors use these interviews to help determine the ‘thoughts and ideas that drive social movements’. They also investigate the ways that activists pass on important ‘skills and strategies’ to one another.

Jay Thompson reviews 'Activist Wisdom: Practical Knowledge and Creative Tension in Social Movements' by Sarah Maddison and Sean Scalmer

Activist Wisdom: Practical Knowledge and Creative Tension in Social Movements

by Sarah Maddison and Sean Scalmer

UNSW Press, $39.95 pb, 284 pp, 0868406864

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