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Career Summary


Dr Sara Motta obtained her BA in Philosophy and MSc in The Politics of Development (Latin America) from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She completed her PhD at the Department of Government, LSE under the supervision of Dr Francisco Panizza and Professor Rodney Barker in 2005. She was appointed as a three year Tutorial Fellow in Comparative and Latin American Politics in the Government Department, LSE before being appointed to lectureship in Politics at the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham in 2007. She joined the Discipline of Politics and International Relations, University of Newcastle, NSW in May 2013 as Senior Lecturer in Politics. Her scholarly practice transgresses borders- epistemological, social and spatial- as a means to co-construct with communities in struggle a critical political science practice for and of the subaltern. She has published widely in international journals including Political Studies, Latin American Perspectives, Antipode, Historical Materialism and produced a number of books including (co-edited with Alf Nilsen) Social Movements in the Global South: Dispossession, Development and Resistance (Palgrave Macmillan) and the forthcoming ( co-edited with Mike Cole) Education and Social Change in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan). She is co-founder and Latin American editor of the open access peer-reviewed journal Interface: a journal for and about social movements,; advising editor for Latin American Perspectives,; and founding co-editor of the Journal of Critical Southern Studies. She has been involved in organising numerous projects of radical education including, the Nottingham Critical Pedagogy Project,, Nottingham Free School; the Social Science Centre and PRONERA, State University of Ceara, Brazil. She also writes a radical feminist column Beautiful Transgressions for Ceasefire Magazine,


  • PhD (Economics and Political Science), University of London, 31/08/2005
  • Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy)(Honours), University of London, 01/08/1994
  • Master of Science, University of London, 01/11/2000


Research keywords

  • Cosmologies of Resistance
  • Critique of Political Science/Comparative Politics
  • Feminism of the 21st Century
  • Pedagogies of Resistance and Transformation
  • Subaltern politics in the Global South and Latin America

Research expertise

Dr Motta’s research focus is the politics of subaltern resistance, with particular reference to Latin America and the reinvention of new forms of popular politics, political subjectivities and ways of life that seek to transcend neoliberal. She has written about the Latin American Third Way Governments of the Concertacion in Chile and the Workers' Party in Brazil in relation to their role in stabilising and normalising neoliberal hegemony. A second strand of her research is focused on new forms of subaltern politics in the region, with particular reference to social movements in Argentina (unemployed movements), Venezuela (urban land movement), Brazil (Landless Workers Movement and Solidarity Economy Movement) and Colombia (Escuela Política de Mujeres Pazífica).

These movements are creating new forms of politics and development which challenge conventional frames of political analysis and suggest the need for a re-think of trusted conceptual frameworks. She is thus interested in developing critical readings of political science and comparative politics through traditions on the scholarly margins including, decolonial theory, black and Chicana feminist theory, post-anarchy, open Marxism and the theories produced by communities in struggle.

This research has led her to explore the politics of knowledge and the linkages between knowledge, power and exclusion, as well as the ways in which new social movements are re-inventing democratic and participatory forms of knowledge creation that challenge the academic privilege of the academy. Methodologically she is therefore interested in developing movement relevant research and participatory research methods. As part of this she is also interested in the pedagogy of dissent, and the use of popular education and critical education in and outside of the University in the forging of struggles and practices of social justice.

She has published widely in internationally peer reviewed journals including Political Studies, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Antipode, Latin American Perspectives, Latin American Politics and Society and Historical Materialism. She is co-editor of the forthcoming LAP special edition Reinventing the Lefts from Below in Latin America and co-editor (with Alf Nilsen) of Social Movements in the Global South: Dispossession, Development and Resistance (Palgrave Macmillan). She is also the co-author (with Mike Cole) of Constructing Twenty-first Century Socialism in Latin America: The Role of Radical Education, and the co-editor (also with Mike Cole) of Education and Social Change in Latin America (both Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).


  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Fields of Research

160600Political Science40
220307Hermeneutic And Critical Theory30
160805Social Change30


She is currently involved in a number of research collaborations which explore a number of intersecting processes focusing on gender, knowledge and cosmology in new forms of popular democracy and social transformation in Latin American and Europe:

Profs Sandra Gadelha and Ernandi Mendes at the State University of Ceara, Brazil working with the MST (Rural Landless Movement Movement) under the umbrella project PRONERA in the State University of Ceara, Brazil.

Prof Norma Bermudez at The Escuela Política de Mujeres Pazificas in Cali, Colombia.

Prof Alejandrina Reyes, Centro de Experimentación para el Aprendizaje Permanente, (CEPAP), la Universidad Nacional Experimental Simón Rodríguez, (UNESR), Venezuela

Dr Sarah Amsler and Prof Mike Neary, Social Science Centre, University of Lincoln, UK.


Teaching keywords

  • Critical Political Science and Comparative Politics
  • Critical Social Theory
  • Latin American Politics and Society
  • Politics in the Global South
  • Research Methodology
  • Social Movements


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.

Book (3 outputs)

2014Motta SC, Cole M, Cole M, Constructing 21st Century Socialism in Latin America: The Role of Radical Education, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 259 (2014) [A1]
2013Motta SC, Cole M, Education and Social Change in the Americas, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 308 (2013) [A3]
2013Motta SC, Cole M, Education and Social Change in the Americas, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 308 (2013) [A3]

Chapter (3 outputs)

2013Motta SC, 'On the Pedagogical Turn in Latin America', Education and Social Change in Latin America, Palgrave Macmillan, New York 53-70 (2013) [B1]
2013Motta SC, 'Pedagogies of Possibility In, Against and Beyond the Imperial Patriarchal Subjectivities of Higher Education', Acts of Knowing In, Against and Beyond the Neoliberal University, Bloomsbury Academic, London 85-124 (2013) [B1]
2013Motta SC, 'Introduction: Exploring the Role of Education and the Pedagogical in Pathways to 21st Century Socialism', Education and Social Change in Latin America, Palgrave Macmillan, New York and London 1-16 (2013) [B1]

Journal article (4 outputs)

2014Motta SC, 'Reinventing Revolutionary Subjects in Venezuela', Politics and Culture, 1 1-20 (2014) [C1]
2013Motta SC, '"We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For" The Feminization of Resistance in Venezuela', LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES, 40 35-54 (2013) [C1]
2013Mansell J, Motta SC, 'Re-articulating Dissent: Representing the Working Class from Third Way to New Right in Britain and Chile', POLITICAL STUDIES, 61 748-766 (2013) [C1]
2013Motta SC, 'Reinventing the lefts in Latin America: Critical perspectives from below', Latin American Perspectives, 40 5-18 (2013) [C1]
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Grants and Funding

No funding.


Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions5
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL2.35

For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.

Current Supervision

ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20142018PhD (Politics)Principal SupervisorPolitical Inclusion and Participation of 'the People': The Confrontational 'Us and Them' Dynamics in Venezuela
20142018PhD (Politics)Co-SupervisorPolitical Rhetoric and Australian Political Culture: A Critical Analysis of Australian Political Oratory
20142018PhD (Politics)Principal SupervisorFrom the Darkness of Shame to the Light of Dignity: The Impact of Transnational Feminist Activism in Creating Collective Memory of Comfort Women in Japan
20132016PhD (Politics)Principal SupervisorAn Analysis of the Failed West Papua De-colonisation Process: National Narrative versus the Rights of a Non-self-governing Territory
20102016PhD (Politics)Co-SupervisorA Critical Analysis of Iris Marion Young's Contributions to Feminist Discourses of Justice and Equality

Dr Sara Motta

Work Phone(02) 4921 5020
Fax(02) 4921 4101
PositionSenior Lecturer in Politics
Discipline of Politics and IR
Newcastle Business School
Faculty of Business and Law
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Focus AreaPolitics and Policy
Social Sciences Building,
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308