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lifeflame's avatar

What books, articles or documentaries really changed the way you thought about activism and/or the world?

Asked by lifeflame (5907points) October 8th, 2014

I’m from Hong Kong. As you know, recently we’ve had the Umbrella Movement—which sort of took all of us by surprise but is now settling down into a stage of “ok, what’s next”?

It therefore seems like a good time for me to educate myself on social movements in order to get a better understand what happened or possible next steps.

I’m looking for good books, articles or documentaries:
– that provide analysis of why/how social movements worked or not (e.g., the Occupy Movement, or any use of non-violence or civil disobedience)
– on how theatre, humour and art can engage to help social change;
– anything really interesting and relevant on democracy, capitalism, economics sustainability and our social order;

… and in particular, material that blew your mind when it came to understanding the social-economical structures of the world and how things can/need to change. Feel free to discuss the impact it had on you and how it changed your personal engagement with the world.

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9 Answers

Vincentt's avatar

Het zijn net mensen, translated into English as either People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle EastPeople Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East or Hello Everybody!: One Journalist’s Search For Truth In The Middle EastHello Everybody!: One Journalist’s Search For Truth In The Middle East, really made an impression on me and many others, although it is unfortunately not that know outside of the Netherlands.

Although it mainly focuses on the Middle East, and what it’s like to be a reporter there, it very much focuses on how events make it to the media, how situations affect public image, and (which is why it is interesting to you) how all this affects if social change can be reached.

Furthermore, though it’s still on my to-read list, Guns, Germs and Steel is supposed to be highly relevant when it comes to your last paragraph.

St.George's avatar

The Fire This Time – I think this was when I realized that the world, she is not so innocent.

ibstubro's avatar

Illusions had a real impact on my view of the world, and my sense of place within that world. I bet I’ve read it 15–20+ times.

Probably not what you’re really looking for, but it’s my answer, nonetheless. :)

LostInParadise's avatar

I was very moved by the works of Jean Paul Sartre. Although his major work, Being And Nothingness is not overtly political, there are political consequences to the belief that we must all choose for ourselves what we value and what we consider is right.

nebule's avatar

@LostInParadise That is on my shelf…I still need to sit down and read it all :)

LostInParadise's avatar

@nebule , When I read it, I came to the conclusion that it is okay to skim sections. Sartre was a very fine writer of both fiction and non-fiction, but of everything that I have read by him, Being And Nothingness stood most in need of some serious editing. It contains a lot of great material, but it is a bit bloated.

nebule's avatar

Ooh, thank you… @LostInParadise is it worth getting a reader’s guide for it do you think or should I just plunge on in there? x

LostInParadise's avatar

Start by just plunging in. The writing is easy to follow, though it will give you a lot to think about. I particularly liked Sartre’s existential interpretation of his fellow Frenchman Descartes’ statement of “I think therefore I am”

nebule's avatar

Thank you @LostInParadise I will have a bash x

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