New Book

Social Sciences for an other politics: Women theorising without parachutes  – edited by Ana Cecilia Dinerstein

10th May 2017


Social Sciences for an other politics: Women theorising without parachutes  (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) 



This book is dedicated to Berta Cáceres and Jo Cox, two great women brutally silenced for their resistance to power and their hope in a world that can contain many worlds in it.

This book addresses the current state of radical politics – the “other” politics. In the context of the extensive range of current and ongoing crises encompassing poverty and hunger; war and conflict leading to rape and death, it might be surprising to find that alternative political movements are mobilizing to create ‘utopia’ in a range of subtle forms. There has been a major shift in grassroots politics which shows that these movements are not only mobilizing against ineffectual policy, the failures of representative democracy and the alienating nature of the economy, but they are opening breathing spaces through which to conceive and organise social life in new and alternative ways.  Indeed, a myriad of knowledges and practices are developing in urban and rural areas to bring these to fruition.  While often based in traditions of resistance, people are mobilising with new approaches to cooperative production and consumption, self-management and communal property; non-representational politics and anti-oppressive education.  The question is how to understand the significance of these new movements and forms of collective action.

The book opens a unique intellectual space where eleven female scholar-activists (Women on the Verge scholar activist group) working in Mexico, USA, Sweden, Australia, and the UK, explore alternative forms of theorising this social reality. These ‘Women on the Verge’ demonstrate that a new radical subject- plural, prefigurative, de-colonial, ethical, ecological, communal and democratic- is in the making, but is unrecognisable with old analytical tools. Of central concern to the book is the resistance of some social scientists, many of them critical theorists, to learning about this radical subject and to interrogating the concepts, methodologies and epistemologies used to grasp it. Theorising without parachutes means to engage with traditions and existing radical thought such as anarchism, Marxism, Feminism, but such that we are not protected by their established frameworks of analysis.

Echoing the ‘experiential critique’ of capitalist-colonial society that is taking place at the grassroots, the authors examine how to create hope, decolonise critique and denaturalise society. 

They also address the various dimensions of the social (re)production of life, including women in development, the commons, and nature. 

Finally, they discuss the dynamics of prefiguration by social movements, critiquing social movement theory in the process. 

This thought-provoking edited collection will appeal to students and scholars of gender studies, social, Marxist and Feminist theory, post- colonial, social movement and development studies, and politics. 

Available as e-book and hard cover: 



1 The Radical Subject and Its Critical Theory: An Introduction ANA C DINERSTEIN

Part I Epistemological Openings

2.  Learning Hope. An Epistemology of Possibility for Advanced Capitalist Society  SARAH AMSLER

3.  Decolonising Critique: From Prophetic Negation to Prefigurative Affirmation SARA MOTTA

4.  Denaturalising Society: Concrete Utopia and the Prefigurative Critique of Political Economy ANA C DINERSTEIN

Part II The (Re)production of Life

5. Transgressing Gender and Development: Rethinking Economy Beyond ‘Smart Economics’  SUZANNE BERGERON

6. Producing the Common and Reproducing Life: Keys Towards Rethinking the Political RAQUEL GUTIERREZ, LUCIA LINSALATA & MINA LORENA TRUJILLO

7.  Talking About Nature: Ecolinguistics and the Natureculture Paradigm FRANCISCO ZUNINO HARPER 

Part III Social Movements and Prefigurative Politics

 8 . The Prefigurative Is Political: On Politics Beyond ‘The State’ EMILY BRISSETTE

9.  The Prefigurative Turn: The Time and Place of Social Movement Practice  MARIANNE MAECKELBERGH

10.  Rethinking Social Movements with Societies in Movement  MARINA SITRIN  


This is a collection of edgy political theory so saturated with a feminist sensibility that is has become unremarkable. And yet remarkable it surely is. The feminist thinkers who have contributed to this book have the weight of the world on their shoulders and the challenges we face as inhabitants on this precious planet squarely in focus. They are leading the way by combining critical thinking, astute appreciation of what we have to work with, and creative imaginings. Again J.K. Gibson-Graham applauds their efforts. What they have produced is, by no means, just a stunt, it is shaping our future. EXCERPT from the FOREWORD by J.K. Gibson-Graham 

 An extraordinary attempt to rethink the connection between social struggles and social sciences today. This is a wonderful opportunity to discover how women are breaking through the glass ceiling with their colonial, ethical, hopeful, political, radical alternative critical theorisations. Professor Mabel Thwaites Rey, Instituto de Estudios de América Latina y el Caribe (IEALC) – University of Buenos Aires.

 This book brings together some of the most exciting social theorists writing, thinking and working today. It ventures beyond familiar accounts of contemporary challenges and opens important new ways of framing future trajectories for change. It should be read far and wide’ – Professor Keri Facer, University of Bristol, AHRC Leadership Fellow for Connected Communities. 


Ana Cecilia Dinerstein  (PhD Sociology) is Associate professor in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath, UK, where she teaches political sociology and critical theory. She has published on Argentine and Latin American politics, labour and social movements, autonomous resistance, the politics of policy, Open Marxist and critical theory, and the contemporary uses of Bloch’s philosophy, specially the principle of hope and concrete utopia. She is a member of the Committee of the British Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) and a Research Partner of the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam) for the New Politics Project (2016-2020) Her publications include The Labour Debate (2002; Turkish edition 2006, Spanish edition 2009), The Politics of Autonomy in Latin America: The Art of Organising Hope (2015) She is creator and Convenor of the activist-scholar group Women on The Verge. See