Improvisation and Accompaniment for Social JusticeBarbara Tomlinson and George Lipsitz
Insubordinate spaces are places of possibility, products of acts of accompaniment and improvisation that deepen capacities for democratic social change. Barbara Tomlinson and George Lipsitz’s Insubordinate Spaces explores the challenges facing people committed to social justice in an era when social institutions have increasingly been reconfigured to conform to the imperatives of a market society.
In their book, the authors argue that education, the arts, and activism are key terrains of political and ideological conflict. They explore and analyze exemplary projects responding to current social justice issues and crises, from the Idle No More movement launched by Indigenous people in Canada to the performance art of Chingo Bling, Fandango convenings, the installation art of Ramiro Gomez, and the mass protests proclaiming “Black Lives Matter" in Ferguson, MO. Tomlinson and Lipsitz draw on key concepts from struggles to advance ideas about reciprocal recognition and co-creation as components in the construction of new egalitarian and democratic social relations, practices, and institutions.
“Cynics beware! Insubordinate Spaces takes us to sites and stories of imagination, hope, and possibility. Tomlinson and Lipsitz show how everyday practices of defiance and opposition—within indigenous-led struggles over land and sovereignty, liberatory visions of Latinx cultural workers, new ways of being and knowing in the university, and bold challenges to state violence—transform relations of domination into new horizons of freedom. A book demanded by the crisis of our times.”
—Daniel Martinez HoSang, Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Race and Migration at Yale University and co-author of Producers, Parasites and Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity
“Insubordinate Spaces is, at once, an emotional and intellectually clarifying work. Tomlinson and Lipsitz capture the desperation we feel as we witness the persistent suffering among the global poor, continued police killings of black and brown peoples, and the degradation of our most vulnerable. Sadness and horror surround us. The past few decades have left many of us feeling tired and distressed as we have engaged and supported varying and seemingly disparate actions and efforts for change, with little end to the trauma in sight. Yet, Tomlinson and Lipsitz make clear that these struggles are not in vain. Insubordinate Spaces helps us to make sense of our anguish, untangle the thread that connects multiple acts of resistance, and illuminate the meaning of contemporary collective engagement.”
— Jennifer F. Hamer, Vice Provost, Office of Diversity and Equity, and Professor in the Departments of American Studies and African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas, and editor of the journal, Women, Gender, and Families of Color
"(A) well-written addition to Temple University’s series on social justice movements.... Insubordinate Spaces provides intimate stories and firsthand accounts plus a wide-ranging bibliography of several progressive social movements.... (T)his (is) a cultural study more than a sociology of social movements. Summing Up: Recommended."
" (A) timely examination of social justice framed in the dialogue of insubordinate spaces, accompaniment, and improvisation.... The book is well written and clearly organized.... (and) creates a rich playing ground for critical thinking."
"Drawing on a wide range of social justice scholarship amply discussed in the book, the authors argue that it is exactly these dire and subordinating circumstances that have provoked the emergence of insubordinate spaces and currents of resistance....
(T)he theoretical frameworks and the thoroughly researched and immensely informative examples of political movements add up to a very engaging publication."
The Insubordinate Spaces series, edited by George Lipsitz, is a home for books that resist and rethink the increasingly outsized power market forces wield over public and private life and over the rules and assumptions of scholarly investigation and discourse. The series seeks to explore the origins and evolution of these contemporary and historical subordinating institutions and practices, as well as emergent insubordinate social spaces and institutions crafted to resist market imperatives and provide alternatives to them in the form of new publics, new polities, and new politics.