The Dilemmas of Open Space: the Future of the WSF

UNESCO 2004. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX42DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.

The World Social Forum (WSF) seeks to bring together, in its own words, all those who oppose ‘‘neo-liberal globalisation’’ and ‘‘imperialism in all its forms’’. It hopes to serve as their common meeting-ground. It has adopted as its principal mode of operation the concept of the ‘‘open space’’. This concept is highly original; it is also quite controversial among the participants of the WSF itself.

We need to explore the origins of this concept of the ‘‘open space’’ and the reasons why it arouses so much fervour – both of those who are favourable to it and of those who are quite uneasy about it. And we need to explore the dilemmas the concept poses to the viability of the WSF itself.

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