I want us to keep in mind at least two audiences for our work.
There are, first of all, the students, for whom studying [social]
movements ought to be a moral enterprise. This is a field rich with
the stories about human possibility, about moments of transcen-
dence, about the times when ordinary people have changed the
world.—richard flacks, ‘‘Knowledge for What? Thoughts on the
State of Social Movement Studies’’
Countering Development:
Indigenous Modernity and the Moral Imagination
The struggle for social justice is more than political and cultural: it is
also philosophical. James Jasper (1997) proposes that the incorporation
of culture into the study of social movements is often highly cognitive,
with little attention devoted to either emotions or moral visions. He
suggestively argues that collective action is a fertile arena for new under-
standings of the world and new patterns for action: ‘‘Learning—which
is di≈cult for perfectly rational or perfectly irrational human beings—
lies at the heart of social movements. Far from being the opposite of ra-
tionality, culture, including emotions, defines rationality’’ (98; emphasis
added).∞ Furthermore, culture itself is inherently dynamic and subject
to continuous and continuing change. In the processes described in the
previous chapters, culture has played di√ering and sometimes ambigu-
ous roles. In the resettled communities, people have chosen to accept it,
manipulate it, or flaunt it. In the movements of resistance, culture has
evolved from one based on a particular identity to one embracing many
identities and sharing certain key values and beliefs. As Arjun Appadurai
(2004, 59) has argued, ‘‘It is in culture that ideas of the future, as much
as ideas about the past, are embedded and nurtured.’’ While the disaster
of 1994 and the continuing armed conflict have between them caused
considerable pain and su√ering for the people of Cauca, indigenous and
nonindigenous alike, they have also paradoxically provided unthought-
Previous Page Next Page