Transversality in Diversity: Experiencing Networks of Confusion and Convergence in the World Social Forum

Hosseini, S. A. H. (2015). “Transversality in Diversity: Experiencing Networks of Confusion and Convergence in the World Social Forum.” International and Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Sciences, 4(1), 54-87.


Drawing on the World Social Forum as an exemplary case study, this article shows how an emerging mode of cosmopolitanist vision (‘transversalism’) can be explained in terms of activists’ experiences of both complexity and contradiction in their networks. The paper questions the idea that the transnationalization of networks of solidarity and interconnection can uncomplicatedly encourage the growth of cosmopolitanism among global justice activists. Activists’ experiences of dissonances between their ideals, the complexity of power relations and the structural uncertainties in their global justice networks can provide them with a base for self-reflexive ideation and deliberation, and thereby encourage agendas for accommodating differences. Underpinning the accommodating measures which arise for dealing with such a cognitive-practical dissonance is a new mode of cosmopolitanism, coined here as ‘transversalism’. The article proposes a new conceptual framework and an analytical model to investigate the complexity of this process more inclusively and systematically.


transversalism; transversality; global justice networks; cosmopolitanism; world social forum; dissonance; social movements

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