Anti-capitalist grassroots initiatives' uses of Cultural Politics to engage with Past and Future visions
MetadataShow full item record
Modern capitalist societies are widely recognised as socially and environmentally unsustainable. Technological and scientific advances are insufficient to solve the climate and ecological crises that we face. Instead, structural, cultural and social changes are needed within Western societies. These cultural and social changes are crucial and have not been given significant attention in sustainability transformation research. A cultural transformation must include a reconsideration of core beliefs, assumptions and paradigms. Anti-capitalist grassroots initiatives play an influential role for sustainability transitions due to their constituting a fruitful location for experimentation: they build alternative forms of relations to nature, alternative forms of social relations and alternative relationships to property. The work of unmaking capitalist memories and futures and making post-capitalist memories and futures forms a central part of dismantling the hegemonic power of capitalism over our beliefs, hopes, paradigms and habits. Such work is the focus of this study. Limited research has been done on the connection between future visions and past visions within transformative sustainability initiatives. Moreover, the cultural practices that are relevant for anti-capitalist goals is under-researched within sustainability academia. This research attempts to fill these gaps in knowledge. This study examines anti-capitalist grassroots initiatives’ engagement with the past and future through cultural practices in their attempt to unmake capitalism. A multiple case study analysis was performed on four anti-capitalist grassroots initiatives in Europe. Through interviews and an in-depth analysis of the initiatives’ websites and uses of visual images, the visions of collective memory and of the future of each analysis were explored. The exploration of strategic uses of culture was done through categorising the identified recollections of memory and futuring practices into cultural politics of prefiguration, cultural politics of popularisation, and cultural politics of pressure. The results of the study show that the studied anti-capitalist initiatives engage significantly with cultural politics of unmaking in relation to the future and past. Moreover, results show that the studied initiatives make important uses of popularisation to spread their past and future visions to society. The study provides significant insights on strategies toward the building of cultural shifts for anti-capitalist goals. Moreover, the study builds theory on the role of collective memory for sustainability transformations.