New dissertation on social ecology and movements




3000 people attend a 2013 popular assembly at the University of Philosophy and Social Science in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by F. Venturini.

Last Spring, scholar-activist Federico Venturini, a friend and recent student at the ISE, completed his PhD in Human Geography at the University of Leeds in the UK.  Federico’s dissertation offers an in-depth study of radical urban social movements in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and explores the lessons of these movements through the lens of social ecology.

Here’s the abstract:

We are currently facing incredible challenges due to environmental and social crises on a global scale and cities are at the forefront of these challenges. Within this context, this thesis analyses the role of urban social movements in addressing these crises in the urban environment, learning about, with and from their practices. It does so by critically engaging with social ecology, a theory continuously developed by Murray Bookchin from the 1960s onward, which, while critiquing current social and ecological crises, provides a vision and theory of action needed to achieve a free and ecological society.

Specifically, the thesis, using participatory research approaches, focuses on the role of urban social movements in addressing the urban crises which acutely affect Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where intense social mobilizations emerged in 2013-2014. It examines the complex understanding of urban crises by urban social movements, and their tactics and organizational strategies, tracing points of contact between urban social movement practices and the social ecology perspective. The thesis bridges these two, highlighting how urban social movements practices and the social ecology theory can benefit from each other, in order to build relevant and decolonized knowledge for social change.

The full text can be downloaded here.  Unfortunately, this requires (free) registration with the network. You can also read a summary of Federico’s research and analysis in his chapter in the New Compass book, Social Ecology and Social Change.