Activism / Advocacy / Protest

Activism /ˈæktəˌvɪzəm/ noun

· 1 taking action to affect social change. It is generally known as a policy or action of vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. · 2 The theory or belief that truth is arrived at through action or active striving. This can be led by individuals but is often done collectively through social movements. Denotes three different levels of resistance; (a)demanding solution to contemporary problems through the taking of oppositional stances to mainstream policies [view protest] (b) Manifested through the creation of alternatives to the dominant system through the construction of new ways of social behavior. (c) Concerned with fundamental change of society and its major institutions.

Advocacyˈædvəkəsi/ noun

· 1 method of resistance seeking to influence a particular cause or policy and resource allocation decisions within institutions and political systems. Generally known as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others. Particularly involved in power relations. Method of resistance sponsored by the typical removal of the subject from a self-affecting cause and mostly concerned with people’s participation and a vision for a just society.  An advocacy group is a pressure group with a set of organizational and political goals trying to influence the government but does not holding power in the government. Some bodies have arisen through globalization, securing nature of influence gaining status as non governmental organizations (NGOs). Within democratic systems typically greater financial resources groups will generally be better able to influence decision making process of government.

Protest /ˈproʊˌtɛst/ noun

· 1 method of resistance through public demonstration, type of campaigning activism; it is an expression or declaration of objection, disapproval, or dissent, often in opposition to disempowering a system. Typically short-term demand-driven demonstration for a change in policy, practice or operations.




Michel Foucault, “What is Critique?” in The Politics of Truth, ed. Sylvere Lotringer (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2007)

Notes from Nowhere, “Direct Action Tactics,” from We are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anti-Capitalism (Orange County: Orange County Revolutionary Anarchist Collective, 2003)

Bobo, K., Kendall, J., Max, S.(1991) Organizing for Social Change: a manual for activists in the 1990s. Minneapolis, MN. Midwest Academy.

Obar, Jonathan, et al (2012). “Advocacy 2.0: An Analysis of How Advocacy Groups in the United States Perceive and Use Social Media as Tools for Facilitating Civic Engagement and Collective Action.” Journal of Information Policy.



Though currently associated with the left-of-center, dominant, two-party American politics, Liberalism in its classical sense is the underlying scaffold for nearly all non-radical, contemporary political dispositions. Classical Liberalism, which coincides with the incarnation of modernity, as a political philosophy concerns itself with, in the most simple terms and as enunciated by the French Revolution, Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite. It is from these words that the principles of life, liberty, and property are placed in a universal context. This universalism allows Liberalism to easily become compounded with the concerns of social welfare, or, in perhaps a counter intuitive way, provides a foundation for all but the most traditional conservative ideology. Thus-ly, Liberalism becomes synonymous with capitalism.

Moving away from its classical basis, Modern Liberalism is a political, though in many ways predominantly economic stance wherein the prevailing socio-economic theory of universal employment (Keynesian model) and open markets advances the common good and  serves as a primary driver for government control/regulation of the economy to prevent unfettered capitalism from creating societal inequality and financial/class disproportionality.  Liberalism favors reform by law and government action, rather than revolution, and in the late stages of Liberalism, perhaps actively prevents the possibility of revolutionary change as economic inertia and interdependence, symmetrically or asymmetrically distributed, becomes a primary means of governance. (See Neo-Liberalsim)


Simply, the global, or transnational implementation of liberal economic policy. Neo-Liberalism produces an extremely deregulated economy within its host nations. This state is facilitated by free-trade and open markets between nations, emphasizing privatization and individual responsibility whilst largely maintaining liberal, in a classical sense, views on social issues.

 Economic growth is viewed as a social “bottom-line”, allowing market forces to regulate(?)the economy, extolling an exchange-society model, with porous, unregulated trade movement. In Neo-Liberalism, state and quasi-state entities, for example the World Bank, IMF, UN, global investment banks, etc have superseded the initial, individual rights-based, universal ambitions and capacity of Classical Liberalism, in favor of a universalism that is more globe-spanning and  a dominant, pragmatic, global capitalist reality, rather than freedom-creating universal born of the Modern project.

Dangerously, Neo-Liberalism drapes, or rather camouflages itself in this same freedom-inducing, progress-driven mantel to produces a manically growth-driven hyper-capitalism. See Neo-Colonialism.



Radicalism purports that fundamental and systemic change is the root motive and strategy for revolutionizing the existing governing apparatus of political power and economic mechanisms.  Radicalism can be attributed adjectivally to any political affiliation, though generally to the extreme wings of the right or the left. The definition lies in the application or means of governmental change and less as a theory or stance in itself. Yet in contemporary parlance, Radicalism and “to be Radical” is associated with left-of-center politics and claimed by Leftist political organizations, as well as any number of anti-status quo and often anti-colonial/capitalist activities. This is not to say that Radicalism is not deployed by right wing organizations, but as Radical activity in the 1960’s consisted of  left wing movements, civil rights, the women’s movements, LGBTQ movement, Black Power, the environmental movement, the anti-war movement,  this lineage has come to define the political narrative of Radicalism.


Lazzarato, Maurizio. The Making of the Indebted Man. An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition. Los Angeles,CA: Semiotext(e), 2012


John + Matthew

informality, precarity, spontaneity

Please see attached:

informality, precarity, spontaneity


An urban condition of spontaneous growth, unincorporated into the spatial, economic, and financial systems of a governing municipality. A territory of highly productive and diversified economic activities that replace taxable and regulated forms of economy with those of flexible and negotiated agreements.

Spatial Informality: The organization of small resident-built structures around social contacts, friends, family, and the provision of a particular service such as selling foodstuffs, street food vendors, tailors, mobile phone kiosks, printing, or offering expertise in mechanical repair or construction. As one service comes on line, other related or support services will grow, building up a network of immediate need-based economic networks that are directly tied to social connections and familial relationships. Residents typically own their own home/business structure, yet lack any legal claim to property that can be used against a governmental entity, and subsequently lack the right to perform physical actions on that property.

Economic Informality: Participating in buying, selling, and trading of goods or services outside of governmentally structured tax regimes.


Pecquet, Gary. “Private Property andGovernment Under the Constitution”

The Freeman,

Guha-Khasnobis, B., R. Kanbur, & E. Ostrom, eds. Linking the Formal and Informal Economy: concepts and policies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.


The term Precarity has gained a trendy political currency by a certain portion of the American Urban Amish, a subset of city dwellers who make their own yogurt but have a hard time selling their bespoke moustache shaped oven mitts at places like the Brooklyn Flea Market.  These self-proclaimed Precariot, those who identify as the proletariat suffering from financial instability and economic vulnerability of their state of precarity, blame the neoliberal political machine for its failure to provide things like a more extensive national dental program to cover root canals, or more widespread and favorable rent control program for their bed-sty brownstones…  #firstworldproblems

Possibly unbeknownst to this subset of overeducated, underemployed and highly entitled urban dwellers is a particularly romanticizing and nostalgic depiction of a bygone era of supposed economic security in Fordist corporate America implicit in this “critique.”  This lack of a critical awareness threatens to depreciate the term’s political punch into an empty buzzword for the not-so-poor-off.   Judith Butler draws a distinction between “a more or less existential conception of ‘precariousness’” and a “more specifically political notion of “precarity,” in the introduction to “Frames of War,” published in 2009.   While this distinction seems provocative in reference to the notorious Afghan child photographed without her face covered, in reference to the dumpster-diving freegan blogging about his latest finds, the term runs dangerously close to collapsing into another tagline on the notorious


Butler, Judith. “Precarious Life, Grievable Life.” Introduction to Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?, 1-32. London: Verso, 2009.

Horning, Rob. “Precarity and “affective Resistance”.” Marginal Utility. February 14, 2012.

McCurry, Steve. Afghan Girl Portrait. The National Geographic


The condition resulting from non-rational decision-making, often involving illicit or illegal activity. Spontaneity is a potentially self-effacing term that can simultaneously describe much of the urban poor’s spatial operations as impromptu, as well authoritarian policing practices bereft of moral regard. Spontaneity is characterized by the immediacy of emotional response, whimsy and/or lack of premeditated action. Spontaneity works both as a creative and destructive condition on physical actions and spatial exploitations.

The term has been coopted to describe a particular genre of architectural installation practice, which begins to challenge the temporal, durational limitations of the work. Possibly aligning itself with a certain populist, radical revolutionary ideal, which defies the traditional, rational, and ordered Marxist revolution, Spontaneous Interventions carry revolutionary weight by claiming to act in somebody’s particularly defined Public Interest. While the actual spontaneity of any of these interventions might be suspect, they typically seek some spatial method to highlight governmental, corporate, or social wrong-doing, in the name of anti-capitalist critiques for the good of the Common Man.

References: accessed Sep. 15, 2013.

Campbell-Dollaghan, Kelsey. “Michigan’s Mirrored Memorial To The Foreclosure Crisis.” Gizmodo Australia. September 12, 2013. Accessed September 16, 2013.


-Allen Gillers and Paul McBride

public space/commons/city

pu·blic space 

noun \ˈpə-blik ˈspās\

a democratically accessible social space in which people can debate critically and reason freely; carefully designed to supervise or restrict social interaction of the marginalized and non-governed.


Fig. 1a    Anti-sleep benches restrict use of piblic space and specifically target the homeless population in their design.


Fig. 1b    The Arab Spring protests in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Public space, in the notion that it is of the people, democratizes space even in places where Democracy is hardly found and social interactions are regularly highly supervised, creating a politically charged space and concept.


Fig. 1c   Digital spaces is a democratic forum through which its users are free to engage in critical debate thereby becoming a public space; activity on these sites, however, is often regulated, restricted, and controlled.  This political and cultural resource may also be exploited for the private gain of a select few (such as the sale of data); see commons.



noun \ˈkä-məns\

the cultural and natural resources upon which the welfare and safety of the whole of a community depend; privatized for the gain of select  individuals at the cost of the community.


Fig. 2    Viable resources such as water, though nominally owned collectively, are subject to monopolization when the means for accessing and distributing those resources are in the hands of individual owners.


noun \ˈsi-tē\

A relatively large and permanent settlement with complex infrastructural systems for sanitation, utilities, land use, housing, and transportation that greatly facilitates daily life of individuals belonging to that city; non-conforming individuals are excluded from these services and therefore, from the city.


Fig. 3a   A boy in Mumbai, India walks into an open toilet on stilts where the waste goes directly into an open water source. Such is the informal infrastructure of shanty towns where the most marginalized citizens (and non-citizens) must provide the  services at the neglect of their city.

Fig. 3b   Trailer parks are semi-permanent, often marginalized offshoots of cities that must generally develop their own infrastructure and services; their mobility directly challenges the notion of a fixed and static city.



Fig. 1a: High Back Anti-Homeless Bus Bench, April 15, 2012, accessed September 15, 2013,

Fig. 1b: “Public Space Powered Democracy,” Project For Public Spaces, Feb. 23, 2011, accessed September 15, 2013

Fig. 2: “Coke-Sponsored Rover Finds Evidence of Dasani on Mars,” The Onion, March 24, 2004, accessed September 16, 2013,,1146/

Fig. 3a: “In India, A toilet shortage drains the economy,” Businessweek, Sept. 9, 2013, Accessed September 15, 2013,

Fig. 3b: Erik Jacobs, “Waiting in Fear in Government Trailers,” The Boston Globe, September 3, 2006, accessed September 15, 2013,




Social Responsibility, Public Interest, Solidarity

Posited as a stimulus for action or inaction. Social responsibility defines the total set of moral  imperatives that have been tacitly conveyed through the norms of civil society, not extensively and explicitly through its judicial process. In other words, it is constituted by the network of politicized agents that intermediate between autonomous individuals and the state through collective opinion and action.  Consideration of social responsibility provides the individual with a rubric for what to do and what not to do, regardless of the specific dictates of the law. Although social responsibility is often framed with universalizing rhetoric, it does not necessarily account for the interest of  all members of a society; its mandates are prone to appropriation by the dominant political or economic regime.

Public Interest is a realized or unrealized set of potential economic, political, and social actions that benefit a specific demographic group, most commonly defined by the citizenship of a particular nation-state. The assumed positive nature of such actions should optimally serve the “common good”, a bundle of collectively agreed upon beliefs concerning rights, justice, and virtue. While public interest has long been marked as the territory of the state, today there is much evidence that the state’s exclusive claims on such provisions have been eroded as it increasingly takes action to represent private interests. Widespread distrust in state actors and the rise in influence and number of non-governmental actors are resultants of this obfuscation of the barriers between the public and private sectors and the motives of the actors therein.  With the growing deficit of provisions of the common good by the state, it is often non-governmental organizations that work to guarantee actions in consideration of the public interest by facilitating the production of the “common good” through governmental coercion or autonomous action.

Solidarity is a strong form of perceived or real relational bonds established socially through identified similarities of interests, ambitions, dependencies, or conditions. The specificity of identified similarities can exist on a spectrum from individual to universal traits.  Participation in this type of relational bond can be culturally inherited through historic norms, in the example of kinship and familial networks, or constructed, through affinity groups or other organizational structures.  In some cases similarities may not be obviously apparent, necessitating a more active, participatory, construction of connections and consolidation of intentions.  Solidarity can be achieved as long as the imagined similarity leads to an establishment of co-dependence and co-benefit and a vested ambition to protect and promote identified common interests.


– Andrew Baird + Will Martin

Culture/Tradition/Social Practice

Culture is the symbolization of human deliberate reasoning in response to the immediate environment. It is not created by any individuals, but an integrated system of learnt behavior generated subconsciously by a group when collective interactions and interests are shared. The manifestation of culture is an evolving abstraction that is open for interpretation, for any member in a group has the power to reshape and reinterpret it.

Tradition is the continual presence and principle of spirit in a culture that ensures the continuity and identity of the moral attitude through successive generations. The manifestation of tradition roots in the preservation of memory and knowledge that are communicated, gathered, and formulated throughout the history from the conscience of collectives. It implies spontaneous assimilations of the past in understanding the present without breaking the continuous progression of a society’s life.

Social Practice:
Social practice is the conceptual content of personal attitudes towards social norms. It is manifested when reciprocal influences between individuals are constructed through sharing and exchange of information. Individual’s social practice is not necessarily changeable, for it depends on the individual’s willingness and ability to adapt according to the immediate social pattern of behavior.

Allan, Kenneth. The Meaning of Culture: Moving the Postmodern Critique Forward. Westport, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998.

Eliot, T.S. Notes Towards the Definition of Culture. London, UK: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1962.

Congar, Yves. The meaning of tradition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004.

Shils, Edward. Tradition. Pbk. ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Bronner, Simon J. Western Folklore. California: Western States Folklore Society, 2000.

Castellani, Brian. Sociology and Complexity Science: A New Field of Inquiry. Berlin, Germany: Springer, 2009.

See Attached pdf file below 
Definition of Culture, Tradition, and Social Practice
Work done by Kelly Wang & Simon Tse

freeter / NEET / informal economy


freeter, probably from freelance, Eng. and arbeiter, Ger.
(フリーター) furita, furiita, freeta, furiitaa, or furitaa
the byproduct of a massive realignment of expectations, the freeter finds herself outside the privileges of professionalism and respectability; she is both protagonist and marginal.  Day-jobs and freelancing mark a conscious movement to the margins, but the heaviness of society resists any recentering.  Freeter becomes a label of contempt.  The freeter excels in practices incompatible with careerism: living in the moment; taking what she wants; drifting, dreaming day-by-day.


NEET, see also NLEET
Not in (Labour,) Education, Employment, or Training
demographic data, employment charts, macroeconomic trends define the NEET.  The state demands the education of citizens, the employment of professionals, the training of hands.  NEET is not.  He is not in education, not in employment, not in training.  The NEET undermines national prosperity and jeopardizes social stability.  Numbers and statistics, but also broken promises define the NEET.  Because he is educated in a market demanding training and unemployable in a culture demanding labour, because he desires the televisual lifestyle of state capitalism, because he is — NEET is not.

informal economy

informal economy, the black market
the necessary flip-side to a bounded and defined state economy.  Enfranchised, legislated by a majority, the state economy operates only on the illegitimacy of the informal; it is the invisible and unseen which throws the state economy in such flattering light.


(2008). “Raising the Age of Compulsory Education in England: A Neet Solution?”.British journal of educational studies (0007-1005), 56 (4), p. 420.

Genda Yūji. (2007) Jobless Youths and the NEET Problem in Japan SSJJ. 10 (1): 23-40 first published online May 19, 2007

Masahiro, Yamada (10/01/2001). “No future for “freeters””. Japan Echo (0388-0435), 28 (5), p. 52.


Isoke Craig
Brandon M. Wagner


craig-wagner_glossary_freet, NEET, informal economy

Development, Industrialization, Growth



Lewis, W. Arthur. Theory of Economic Growth. Routledge, 2013.

Malik , Khalid. United Nations Development Programme, (2013). The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. New York, New York.

Purna C. Samantra “What Helps or Hurts Industrialization: A Review from Economic History” in, Purna Samantra and Raj Kumar Sen Realizing African Development: A Millenial Analysis (CIIDS and IIDS, 2001), pp. 84-103.

Ranis, Gustav, and John CH Fei. “A Theory of Economic Development.” The American Economic Review (1961): 533-565.
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