|PUBLICATIONS OF CRITICAL ENGAGEMENT
|These publications are part of the CACIM Forum Fellowship programme, which is in continuation with the efforts of CACIM at promoting a critical engagement with socio-political movements in general and with the WSF process in particular.|
|The 2008-09 Process
of Open Space :
A Reading of Dalit Participation in WSF 2004
About this monograph
The concept of ‘open space’ adopted by the World Social Forum (WSF) made it more than just an ‘anti-globalisation platform’. It moved it in the direction of a more open new politics of diversity and pluralism. The idea that there cannot be a single counter narrative to the system of oppression, and the recognition of diversity and pluralism, were inevitable prerequisites for fostering the new politics. It was an acknowledgement of diverse forms of struggles and movements that were taking place in different parts of the world.
The concept of open space has been much discussed in the debates and literature that evolved around the WSF. Most of the deliberations have centred on the linearity of the ‘open space’, whether the space was controlled top-down or bottom-up, the grammar and language of the concept, the liminality of the space, the indeterminacy of the process, etc.
The Mumbai 2004 WSF is celebrated for its radical shift from earlier Forums and for the celebration of diversities. The relevance of open space to silenced communities is therefore an important domain for exploration. The monograph attempts to see the openness of ‘open space’. Is the openness limited to the participation or representation of different groups ? Or is it defined through the interaction and intercommunication of different possible worlds ? Or is the Forum just a space for showcasing different groups and movements ?
Immediately after WSF 2004, most of the writings marked the significant political presence of dalits through seminars, demonstrations, and cultural shows. While dalit presence in the Indian socio-economic and cultural sphere is marginal, what was the significance of dalit interaction with the WSF’s open space ? This question is all the more relevant as the WSF took place in a space where deeply entangled upper caste and dalit histories confront each other. The present study is an exploration of the way the concept of open space was encountered by the dalit section of Indian society, and how the Forum responded to the voices of dalit movements in the country.