Modes of knowledge production in the study of radical urban movements

Kostka, Joanna and Czarnota, Katarzyna (2017) Modes of knowledge production in the study of radical urban movements. Interface: a journal for and about social movements, 1 (9). 368–388. ISSN 2009-2431

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Research on radical social movements in the context of recent Central and Eastern European political realities has brought attention to different forms of resistance: in terms of their strategies, repertoires of action, and opportunity structures. However, the advancement of social movement research corresponded with a growing isolation of intellectual endeavors from social movement practices. Especially in its abstract development of theory the field began to produce work that was distant from, and often irrelevant to, the very struggle it purported to examine. In this article, we analyze the research methods employed by mainstream academics studying urban resistance in Poland. We show that the detachment and distance from the phenomenon under study contributes to the widening gap between theory and practice. We then argue for the development of engaged, activist research able to build on and learn from resistance movement’s experience and knowledge. We maintain that a collaborative approach conscious of cognitive justice can not only bridge the gap between theory and praxis, but multiply the practices of resistance and push forward alternative visions of a just society. We present a case study of activist research, undertaken by a collective of independent sociologists and activists associated with the Greater Poland Tenants Association and the Anarchist Federation of the city of Poznań, to demonstrate how knowledge generation can serve as a tool for challenging systemic inequalities.

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Journal Article
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Interface: a journal for and about social movements
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Deposited On:
06 Oct 2017 19:35
Last Modified:
11 Sep 2023 19:01