Review originally posted at the LSE Review of Books (December, 2014)
This collection aims to offer a practical, how-to approach to researching social movement studies, with each author writing on a method they have used extensively in their own work. Leonardo Custódio is impressed by the book’s invitation to researchers to reflect about different approaches to studying mass demonstrations, protests, and other forms of collective action for socioeconomic and political change.
Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research. Edited by Donatella della Porta. Oxford University Press. 2014.
Originally posted at the LSE Review of Books website on 13/10/2014.
Sometimes academic books must not be evaluated only according to their conclusions or arguments, but also for the meanings they carry in themselves. That is, to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, sometimes the book is the message. I am specifically thinking about studies regarding the lifeworlds and actions of people who suffer from and struggle against the consequences of social inequality, such as favela dwellers in Brazil, to take one example. In my own fieldwork, I often hear favela dwellers complain about how most researchers treat them as guinea pigs. In these circumstances, the way academics write books and undertake research can potentially transform a situation of insensitivity and mistrust into a relationship of mutual respect.