Do you have any suggestions for resources on the following research topics on successful social and intellectual movements similar to EA?

post by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-02-24T00:12:58.780Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW · 2 comments

This is a question post.

Hi everyone. I was contacted by the Effective Thesis project about potential theses topics for university students. I've done lots of informal research myself on topics related to effective altruism, such as social and intellectual movements, and their relationship with institutions such as government. While I was able to provide the Effective Thesis project with a few suggestions for lines of research that could be quite valuable to EA, without a professional background, I don't know what resources someone could turn to to write an entire thesis on one of these subjects. I was hoping any of you with a background in history or the social sciences with relevant knowledge could suggest me some informational resources to add the Effective Thesis' webpages on these topics on the following subjects.

1. Study the history of a social movement that has been instrumental in achieving a goal similar to the EA movement. An example would be the role the environmental and anti-nuclear movements played in influencing nuclear weapons testing bans or nuclear weapons treaties during the Cold War. Another possible example is the role the environmental and social movements played in global coordination on the issue of ozone layer holes, and the global banning of CFCs instituted with the Montreal Protocol. Insights from these movements could be educational for how EA can effect global coordination regarding transformative AI and other existential risks.

2. As EA moves out of the Western world, to be able to study and know the history of successful social and intellectual movements outside the Western world, like in India, China, Russia, or Latin America could be very informative.

3. Environmental movements around the world have succeeded in part by advocating for the moral importance of entities more abstract than currently living humans, such as the well-being of future generations or non-human beings, biodiversity, and other indicators of ecological health. Studying the intellectual history of these advocacy for these could be very informative for effective altruism.

4. As more EA-aligned efforts find a foot in China, it will be valuable to understand the ways NGOs interact with the government of China much differently than how NGOs interact with Western governments.A thesis on how an NGO or political movement of similar structure or goals to EA have succeeded in China, and how they framed issues to gain the cooperation of the Chinese government, could be very informative to EA.

If you have suggestions for the best available resources someone can use to learn more about these subjects, or other promising research topics in this domain, please let me know.



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comment by Pablo_Stafforini · 2019-02-24T12:48:12.189Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

In connection to (1), a while ago I compiled a list of EA-relevant fields and movements, with associated EA and academic references. As I point out in the document, the list is incomplete, but it's already at a stage where others may perhaps find it useful. You can access the Google Doc here.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-02-24T20:17:46.884Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)