Autonomous Movement and the Institutional Left: Two Approaches in Tension in Madrid's Anti-globalization Network

Cristina Maria Flesher Fominaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the configuration of the anti-globalization movement network in Madrid. It identifies a central tension between two different approaches to political practice, which fall along autonomous/institutional lines. Despite ideological heterogeneity and frame convergence on both sides of this 'divide', the differences in approach to political practice create real tensions when these groups attempt to work together. These tensions have recently become visible at the European Social Forums (ESFs), and are often superficially treated as a difference between 'horizontals' and 'verticals'. Through an analysis of these tensions with the use of data drawn from ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Madrid from 2002 to 2005, I argue that autonomous groups in Madrid benefit from a discursive legitimacy gained from the centrality of autonomous principles in the global movement, but that they are still dependent on institutional left organizations for crucial resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-358
Number of pages24
JournalSouth European Society & Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007



  • autonomous movements
  • Spain
  • politics
  • social movements
  • global justice movement
  • autonomy
  • anti-globalization
  • Western European politics

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