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ISA47 at 2016 Forum: 18 panels on social movements

3rd ISA Forum of Sociology

July, 10-14 2016, Vienna Austria

ISA-RC 47“Social classes and social movements”

Abstract proposals should be sent to the panel coordinators and submitted before September 30th 2015 on the ISA Forum website (http://www.isa-sociology.org/forum-2016)

Joint Sessions

Opening session of RC 47 & RC 48: Contemporary Social Movements

Session Organizer(s):

Tova BENSKI, President of RC 48, tovabenski@gmail.com

Geoffrey PLEYERS, President of RC 47, Université de Louvain, Geoffrey.Pleyers@uclouvain.be

Benjamín TEJERINA, Universidad del País Vasco, Spain, b.tejerina@ehu.eus
Breno BRINGEL, Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil,

We live in a time of deep reconfigurations of democracy, social movements and activism. Five years after the start of a major global movements’ wave in 2011, the panorama for social movements and democracy in the 2010s is a contrasting one. How do new trends in social movements study help us to grasp this fast evolving situation and the changing forms and meanings of both social movements and democracy?
The decade started with a spread of emancipatory movements and democratic openings. After a phase of intense mobilizations, some of these activists have developed democratic and emancipatory practices in their daily life, while others experiment a partial shift to the institutional politics arena. By the mid-2010s, the panorama for social movements and democracy looks however far more contrasting. The democratic project has however come under serious threat. Social movements are repressed, journalists are killed, and citizens are spied by their states. Even in democratic regions, citizens seem to have little impact on major economic and political decisions. At the same time, conservative, racist and far-right movements are gaining impetus in the West and in the East, jihadism attracts thousands of young people from different regions of the world.
What have been the impacts, the challenges and the limits of emancipatory and conservative movements in the 2010s? How do the new trends in social movement studies help us to grasp these transformations and the challenges faced by social movements and democracy?


Democracy in the Squares: Global Resistance Movements and Women

Joint session RC47 / RC48 [host committee]

Session Organizer(s)
Nilufer GOLE, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), nilufer.gole@ehess.fr
Buket TURKMEN, Galatasaray University, Turkey,

A new wave of protest movements has emerged everywhere in the world, ranging from the Middle East, to the European cities, as well as Brazil and Ukraine. These movements follow transnational dynamics, while the domain of politics remain at the national scale. Citizens of the world elaborate new democratic imaginaries. A new public culture of contestation appears with art becoming its intrinsic dimension. These movements that we want to examine contribute to the enactment of forms of citizenship in the public square redefining the political subject. Especially female activists’ struggles in the global resistance movements reveal the emergence of new subjectivities through the act of resistance.
While sociologists believe in the existence of a rupture between these newly emerging struggles and the heritage of the past social struggles, there are also remarkable continuities. The rupture women activists in the Tahrir Square created with patriarchy can only be understood with reference to Egyptian feminism. While Kurdish, Turkish, nationalist, leftist and Islamist female activists developed a sense of sisterhood during the Gezi movement in Istanbul, this sisterhood has been developing since the 1990s, along with the evolution of Turkey’s feminisms. Women in resistance movements experience a dual suffering and have to challenge both the authoritarian/neoliberal regimes and the patriarchy that pervaded the movement along with the society. We will try to understand the new subjectivities constructed by female activists of these global resistance movements as a mixed consequence of the experience of resistance and the feminist heritage.


Silos or Synergies? Can Labor Build Effective Alliances with Other Global Social Movements?

Joint session RC47 & RC44 Labor Movements [host committee]

Session Organizer(s)

Peter B. EVANS, University of California-Berkeley, USA, pevans@berkeley.edu

Daniele DI NUNZIO, Associazione Bruno Trentin/IRES/ISF, Italy, d.dinunzio@ires.it

On the defensive in the face of an increasingly aggressive global capital, labor needs allies. Operating in a “silo” – that is within carefully defined organizational and strategic boundaries that insulate worker organizations from other sorts of mobilization – is a formula for defeat. Alliances with communities and movements for democracy have always been crucial to labor’s success at the local and national levels. Alliances with other transnational social movements at the global have been more sporadic, usually limited to specific campaigns. 

Where are the most promising opportunities for building cross-issue synergies that enhance labor’s political clout along with that of other social movements? What are the obstacles to building synergistic relationships? Few would question the contributions of movements for human rights to the quest for expanding workers rights. There is already a rich literature looking at labor’s relationships with movements prioritizing gender issues and with environmental movements. But much work needs to be done before we understand why sometimes silo approaches prevail and what conditions create possibilities for synergies. What are the complementarities between labors’ organizational and ideological strengths and those of other movements? What are the strategic contradictions that make synergies elusive? 

This session seeks to bring together both work based on the analysis of specific successes and failures at building cross-movement alliances and work that seeks to offer a general analytical understanding of the foundations of synergies and silos.


The Sociology of Social Movements as a General Sociology. Around Alain Touraine

Joint session RC47 & RC48 [host committee]

Session Organizer(s)
Benjamín TEJERINA, Universidad del País Vasco, Spain, b.tejerina@ehu.eus
Kevin MCDONALD, Middlesex Univesity, United Kingdom, k.mcdonald@mdx.ac.uk
Tova BENSKI, President of RC 48, tovabenski@gmail.com

Geoffrey PLEYERS, President of RC 47, Université de Louvain, Geoffrey.Pleyers@uclouvain.be

Alain Touraine has underlined the importance of considering the sociology of social movements not as a specialized subfield but as an essential part of general sociology. This session will gather contributions that have developed this perspective in different ways and studying a range of social movements on different continents.


Social Movements and the Future They Want

Joint session of RC07 Futures Research [host committee] and RC47 Social Classes and Social Movements

Session Organizer(s)

Markus S. Shulz, ISA Vice-president, markus.s.schulz@gmail.com

Geoffrey PLEYERS, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium, Geoffrey.Pleyers@uclouvain.be

Social movement scholars can make a significant contribution to the third Forum of the ISA entitled “The Futures we Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World”. Social movements are major actors of our societies and contribute to shaping possible futures.

This session welcomes both concrete analysis and theoretical contributions on how progressive or conservative social movements imagine, shape and implement alternative futures. We notably welcome contributions on how social actors and social movements imagine and contribute to shape alternative lifestyles, policies and sociability in the global age, increasingly shaped by both global interdependency and the finitude of the planet.


Young Activists, Subjectivity and “the Future They Want”

Joint session RC34 Sociology of Youth and RC47 [host committee]

Session Organizer

Carmen LECCARDI, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, carmen.leccardi@unimib.it

This session welcomes contributions on how young activists imagine, shape and implement alternative futures. As framed in the third ISA Forum presentation, “Tomorrow no longer appears as pre-determined by inevitable trends but as a rather contingent outcome of complex, typically multi-scalar dynamics that vary in their intensity of contentiousness.” Young people aspire, desire, envision, expect, fear, imagine, plan, project, reject, sustain, and wage war over futures. Young activists are major actors of our societies in shaping our possible futures.

We notably welcome contributions on young activists’ perspectives on the future and how these perspectives shape their subjectivity and their personality. Young green activists and their visions of a future on a limited planet prove particularly insightful in that perspective.

However, to understand the specific potential of their vision – at the centre of which stand autonomy, self-determination, experimentation and creativity together with a high level of personal responsibility – the widespread representation of the future expressed by contemporary young people has to be considered. For the majority of them, the future is related above all with indeterminateness and uncertainty. Moreover, the imperative of choice is not flanked by their conviction that personal decisions will be effectively able to condition future biographical outcomes as well as collective environment.


ISA47 Sessions in alphabetical order

Cultural Signification: Making Sense of Action in Social Movements

Session Organizers:

Dai NOMIYA, Chuo University, Japan, dainom@tamacc.chuo-u.ac.jp,

James JASPER, City University of New York, JJasper@gc.cuny.edu,

Antimo Farro, University of Rome, Italy, antimoluigi.farro@uniroma1.it,

Benjamin TEJERINA, Universidad del País Vasco, Spain, b.tejerina@ehu.eus

For many years, researchers have found that social movements contain cultural and psychological elements that guide actions in one way or another, leading eventually to movement mobilization.  Cultural attributes, such as interpretation, emotion, collective identity, and frame, as they give meanings and signification to the action, work in participants’ engagement in the action. 

While long recognized as indispensable for mobilization, these cultural components have also been regarded as the elements difficult to grasp; they are difficult to detect, observe, conceptualize, and generalize.  We have come a long way to find frame and collective identity to work in a concrete movement setting.  But we have to stop and think what else we have acquired as our common cultural languages. We know that emotions are important.  But we are not sure if we have developed and conceptualized enough to bring emotion in our thought frame as a sound analytical concept.  We are not sure further if these cultural languages can easily travel across researchers residing different continents, East and West and North and South.  We may also have different methods and methodologies to detect and observe cultural components of action.   

This proposed session aims at bringing together our cultural findings in social movement research.  Proposing a new concept, new ways of doing research aiming at digging out cultural materials, rearranging current conceptualization, displaying a region/location-specific research method, etc, should help understand where we are, and which direction(s) we should move on from here.


Environmental Movements in the Age of Climate Change

Session Organizer(s)
Christopher ROOTES, University of Kent, United Kingdom,

Environmental movements and protest appeared to be natural bed-fellows as activists struggled to mobilise an environmentally uneducated populace and to challenge the priorities of governments and parties more concerned about economic development than environmental protection. That changed as governments began to acknowledge environmental problems and, recognising the expertise of environmental NGOs, began to see NGOs as partners rather than adversaries. That relationship was consolidated as climate change rose on political agendas, as governments saw NGOs as potential mobilisers of citizens toward sustainable alternatives to the carbon-intensive economy. This created opportunities for NGOs, but, demanding more of them than they can deliver, it has created dilemmas about their identity and future action. Their dilemmas differ according to the dispositions of governments, from the EU, where governments have mostly accepted the need for action on climate change, to countries where governments have resisted action (e.g. Australia, USA, Canada). This panel will compare experiences at local, regional, national and transnational levels, to illuminate the variety of scenarios and responses of environmental movements and NGOs, and to consider the future of environmentalism in light of these developments. We shall be particularly interested in the development of new forms of environmental activism at local as well as international levels, and the emergence of activism on climate justice, including networks of NGOs, activists and experts in and around climate summits. Papers on transnational movements or multi-sited research in an international/global perspective will be especially welcome.


Far Right Movements and Social Research

Session Organizer(s)
Emanuele TOSCANO, University Guglielmo Marconi, Italy, emanuele.toscano@uniroma1.it
Chikako MORI, Hitotsubashi University, Japan,

The rise and spread of far right, populist and nationalist movements in Europe and elsewhere in the world opened a new framework of interest for social movement studies. The study of far right is mainly addressed by political science, focusing on parties and electoral trends. Very few researches are instead leaded from the point of view of social movement studies. One explanation can be linked with the methodological issues: social movements researchers usually use qualitative techniques, such us participant observation, in-depth interviews and sociological interventions to study social movements, often creating a relation with activists based on mutual respect and common perspectives. But how can this possible with activists whose discourses are often racist oriented, or whose initiatives are violent and disrespectful?
Which methodological obstacles arise for research oriented towards analysing protest participation in far right movements? And how do we overcome them?
The panel welcomes empirical and theoretical contributions that deal with reflection on methodology in the study of movements – such as racist, populist of far right organisations – with whose discourses and practises is difficult to empathise.
Regular Session


From Indymedia to #Occupywallstreet and Anti-Austerity Protests in Europe: Three Generations of Digital Activism Logics

Session Organizer(s)
Tod WOLFSON, Rutgers University, USA, wolfsont@gmail.com
Emiliano TRERÉ, Autonomous University of Queretaro, Mexico, etrere@gmail.com
Peter FUNKE, University of South Florida, USA, pnfunke@usf.edu
Paolo GERBAUDO, King`s College London, United Kingdom, paolo.gerbaudo@kcl.ac.uk

Across the last few decades the logic of activism, and of digital activism in particular, have changed dramatically. We have experienced what could be regarded as three waves of protests from the early 1990s to the present. Each of these waves is connected both by the transformations in global capitalism and the rise of the digital age, while still displaying differences or rather developments in movement-based organizing. Together however, we can conceive these three waves as part of one broader epoch of contention. Those particular waves of contention are: Global Social Justice, Occupy/Arab Spring, Syriza/Podemos.
In this panel, we propose to look at the logics of these waves of protest (or generations of digital activism) in order to explore their similarities and differences. The goal of the panel discussion would be to mine history assuming a diachronic perspective, but more concretely to understand the strengths and weaknesses of this epoch of contention as we watch the current wave of struggle unfold.
Some of the questions that will be tackled in the panel are: how have capitalist transformations informed the emergence of the current epoch of contention and how has the activists relation to communication technologies evolved and shaped the logics of protests and mobilizations? Can we conceive of an underlying meta-logics of movement politics informing the waves of protests and how are they best conceptualized, similar as well as differently enacted? What has been the evolution of the role of alternative media in an oversaturated media environment where corporate social media are increasingly dominating the digital activism scenario? What are the challenges that social movements and their communication face when they crystallize into political parties? What lessons have we learned from the analysis of this epoch of contention and what are the future horizons of digital activism and protest?


ICTs in the Media Ecology of Protest Movements: Infrastructures, Discourses and Practices for Social Change.

Session Organizer(s): Alice MATTONI, European University Institute, Italy, alice.mattoni@eui.eu
Ionel SAVA, University of Bucharest, Romania,

Studies on ICTs and social movements flourished in the past few years, also due to the relevant role that social media platforms and mobile communication devices had in the 2011 protest wave. Literature on the topic, however, frequently considers ICTs independently from the context in which they are embedded resulting in a myopic look at the role of digital media in mobilizations. This flaw might be overcome through an analysis that takes into consideration the media ecology of ICTs. Starting from this assumption, the panel seeks papers that investigate ICTs in relation to: the material infrastructures that sustain ICTs used during protests, from corporate media clouds services to activist managed hardware and software; the discourses and imageries related to ICTs, including values and beliefs that activists and other political actors attach to ICTs used during protests; the (media) practices that include the use of ICTs during protests, also in combination with other media technologies and means of communication, like the live-streaming of face-to-face assemblies or the coordinated collective use of Twitter accounts. The panel welcome papers that explore the role of ICTs in recent mobilizations through qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods approaches. We are particularly interested in papers that considers protests in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, also in a comparative perspective with protests that occurred in other parts of the world.


Genesis of the New Social Movements in the Global South

Session Organizer(s)
Simin FADAEE, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, simin.fadaee@hu-berlin.de
Breno BRINGEL, Universidade Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,

The panel will be shaped around the so-called new social movements of the global South. The paradigm which emerged as a response to the ‘rights based’ and ‘quality-of-life’ movements (e.g. feminism, LGBT rights, environment, human rights, etc. ) in Europe and North America after the 1960s assumed that there is a clear distinction between these ‘identity’ movements  and the old organized ‘labor’ movements. Although many Southern societies have witnessed the emergence of rights based and quality-of-life movements, scholarship lacks systematic analysis of these movements in non-western context. The panel aims at addressing this gap by focusing on the historical origins, participants and the relation of these movements to earlier struggles.


Moving Refugees? Mobilisation and Outcomes of Refugee Movements, Solidarity Groups, and Anti-Asylum Activities

Session Organizer(s)
Ilker ATAC, ING Bank Turkey, Turkey, ilker.atac@univie.ac.at
Sieglinde ROSENBERGER, University of Vienna, Austria,

The past ten years have witnessed an upsurge of mobilizations and protest activities by asylum seekers, irregular migrants and migrant rights solidarity activists and groups. With forms of collective public action they demand advocacy for human rights, a fair asylum process and access to labor markets. Furthermore, they demonstrate resistance to pending deportations. In contrast to these pro-migrant movements, we have noticed also a rise of counter-movements that take action against asylum seekers and their accommodations, mostly on a local level.
First, the panel focuses on organizational aspects, framing strategies and identities of these protest movements. Which practices, discursive alliances and mobilization strategies do they use? What are the similarities and differences among these movements? In which ways do pro-refugee and anti-refugee movements relate to each other?
Second, the panel will deal with internal effects and social and political outcomes of these movements. These movements produce cultural effects, through their framing strategies they aim to change perceptions in the society; they produce individual/biographical effects, protests against the deportation of failed asylum seekers results in some cases to legalization. However, asylum seekers may also run the risk of being deported. Reactions of governments and other state institutions may also result in repression, co-optation, and prevention.
This panel addresses refugee, solidarity and anti-asylum movements and focuses on both their different forms of mobilizations and their social, political and movement-related outcomes. Comparative papers with regard to movements, countries and political levels as well as single case studies are also welcome.


Popular Dissent in Sub-Saharan Africa

Session Organizer: Marcelle DAWSON, University of Otago, New Zealand, marcelle.dawson@otago.ac.nz

The nature of popular resistance in sub-Saharan Africa has much in common with the waves of protest that have swept across the globe in recent years. Consequently, scholarship on protest in Africa – while it certainly must take into account the diversity on the continent – has much to offer the field of social movement studies. This session aims to attract a range of important voices that will examine the history, character and trajectory of grassroots struggles in sub-Saharan Africa but, at the same time, highlight the ways in which popular dissent in this region is connected to global patterns of protest. In particular, this session welcomes contributions that address, but are not limited to, the following issues:
–       Working class struggle in sub-Saharan Africa
–       Leadership and the role of key political thinkers in past and present sub-Saharan contexts.
–       ‘Dynamics of contention’  in sub-Saharan Africa both within and outside of the context of organized social movements.
–       The intersection between community and labour movements in sub-Saharan Africa.
–       Theoretical implications for social movement studies that draw on African cases.
Preference will be given to contributions that contextualize African struggles within the global picture of popular resistance.

Social Movements As Sites of Social Development

Session Organizer(s)
John KRINSKY, City College New York, USA,

Social movements are a crucible in which activists collectively generate which new forms of social organization as they attempt to make new subjects, worlds and histories in the context of—and in response to—the old; they may equally be moments of stymied progress where few advances are made on critical questions facing movements and the social groups they represent.  Whereas recent scholarship on social movements has emphasized their microfoundations, conceived as strategic interactions and choice-points, it has tended to play down the more macro-level, longer-lasting features of capitalist societies (including their historical encoding of class, race, gender, and nationality) and the often-contradictory nature of these features. In favor of analytic formalism, social movement studies have largely abandoned systematic social criticism.  This formalist turn also tends to play down the extent to which movements are a site of collective learning.  Reticence about social critique leads analysts to abjure judgments about whether and how collective action leads toward or away from social development.  Emerging Marxist scholarship on social movements has attempted to join the focus on on-the-ground interaction typical of formalist theories with the analyses of the larger, structured dynamics of capitalism and class; and as a body of work grounded in a theory of the “self-emancipation of the working class” (variously defined), its central concern is movement development towards more encompassing modes of social action an social identities.  This panel welcomes papers that focus on efforts to weave together theories of strategy and learning and larger-scale historical and social contradictions.


Social Movements in Latin America: Contributing to a North-South Dialogue

Session Organizer(s)
Renata MOTTA, Free University Berlin, Germany, renata.motta@fu-berlin.de
Pablo LAPEGNA, University of Georgia, USA, pablo.lapegna@gmail.com
Ilan BIZBERG, El Colegio de México, Mexico, ilan@colmex.mx
Session in Spanish and English

Social movements from the global South are usually investigated by applying theories developed by and for the global North. But what happens when theories travel across diverse social contexts? Can theories and concepts developed in the global North fully capture the complexities of social movements and societies that have followed different historical trajectories? For instance, nationalism, “populism,” and socialism, or key institutions like the state or labor unions cannot be assumed to have universal importance and meaning. To what degree theories and practices from the global South inform social movements and studies developed in the global North? How do situated cultures and meaning-making practices require a re-elaboration of social movement theories and concepts?
We would welcome papers that establish a dialogue between theories and movements from the global South and the global North, with a special focus on Latin America. Papers may contribute to this collective enterprise in various ways, for instance, looking at (1) the social and organizational basis of activism and collective identities; (2) how different cultural and historical contexts require new ways of thinking about contentious repertoires, “frames” and the mobilization of resources; (3) the links between social movements, governments, and institutional politics (e.g. the relevance of “patronage politics” in Latin America); and (4) the convergences, influences, and tensions between the global North and global South (e.g. the influence of the Bolivian process of social change in the actions and ideas of Podemos in Spain).


Social Movements in the Arab World

Session Organizer(s):

Maha ABDELRAHMAN, University of Cambridge, Egypt, mma49@cam.ac.uk

The approaching fifth anniversary of the Arab Uprisings which started in Tunisia and spread like wild fire across many countries of the region is a sober reminder of the challenges faced by social movements. The demand for ‘Bread, Freedom and Social Justice’ was able to mobilise millions of people who came out to the streets to protest against a political and economic order based on policies of dispossession and exclusion. This order has long sustained its hegemony through means of political repression and inflated security apparatuses at the national level. A wide range of movements created new types of activism and mobilisation strategies from workers to students to small farmers, slum residents, professionals, the unemployed and the retired. They crossed regional, gender, class and often ideological divides. The panel aims to explore the trajectories of these movements and how they have unfolded in the aftermath of their peak in 2011. It also hopes to locate them within a comparative perspective with social movements with similar features and histories across the world. We especially welcome papers that explore how these movements have evolved, disappeared, were coopted/ integrated into the political process or completely repressed after 2011. We also encourage papers which examine mainstream theoretical tools in studying social movements in light of the experience of these movements. Comparative research which examines social movements in the Arab region with similar movements in other parts of the world including countries of both the global North and South are also highly welcomed.


Social Movements, Sociology and Climate Change

Session Organizer(s): Jackie SMITH, Pittsburg University, USA, jgsmith@pitt.edu
Esin ILERI, École Hautes Études Sciences Sociales, France, esinileri@gmail.com

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to near zero by 2050 to avoid more devastating climate change scenarios than are already underway. As government negotiations continue to fail to generate meaningful action in this regard, social movements have been developing concrete projects to enact practices that move in the direction of a low-carbon society.
This panel welcomes contributions on two main axes. • Analyses and case studies about grassroots social movements who promote worldviews, behaviors and policies more compatible with the reality and constraints of the limited nature of the planet and about how these studies provide us with empirical data for grasping some features of the global age and its consequences on life, democracy and society. How do they imagine, implement and contribute to shape alternative futures, starting in daily life and personal experience or contesting actual policies.
• Can our work as sociologists and with social movements help us find ways to achieve a seemingly impossible goal of radical social transformation? What lessons can be learned from these movements? What movements are or should be happening among academic professionals to both reduce our own carbon footprint while also helping advance the movements responding to the climate crisis? 


What’s Left of 2011? Continuities and Outcomes of the 2011 Protests

Session Organizer(s)
Lorenzo ZAMPONI, European University Institute, Italy, lorenzo.zamponi@eui.eu
Priska DAPHI, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

Though large protests often surprise observers, they hardly start from scratch. Mostly, they are rooted in previous mobilisations. And often they produce outcomes that in turn will influence future mobilisation. The panel explores continuities and outcomes of social movements in the context of the wave of protests for social justice starting in 2011 – including the Arab Spring, the European anti-austerity mobilisations and the Occupy movement. This perspective allows looking at protests not as isolated events, but as part of a historical trajectory, considering both antecedents and legacies. How did previous mobilisations affect this wave of protest? How did the 2011 wave of protests influence more recent mobilisations? What are the consequences of the 2011 protests for politics more generally?
This panel hence will focus on movement continuities and outcomes, before and after the 2011 protests. On the one hand, we are interested in the contents of continuities and the role organisations, submerged networks, abeyance structures, free spaces and other actors and mechanisms play in ensuring this continuity. On the other hand, we aim to shed light on outcomes both with respect to policy-making and political representation as well as the effects on activists’ life-courses and movements’ internal organization.

peripheralizing europe

an east/south encounter of translocal politics and practices

30th july – 2nd august 2015, Lithuania

Peripheralizing Europe is a meeting of activists/researchers/cultural workers connected to the European peripheries, taking place from july 30- august 2nd 2015 near Kaunas/Lithuania. We will be gathering from across the Eastern and Southern peripheries of the continent, to share knowledges, tell of experiences and map out the current situations at the margins of this continent in crisis.

Peripheralizing Europe sets out to re-consider the European crisis from the viewpoint of the margins, understanding that the periphery is a crucial space not just for the reproduction of the centre but also a key site for the articulation of struggles and counterhegemonic practices. We will thus re-map various peripheral regions and struggles, talking about our ways of positioning, prioritizing and organizing – in order to enable new translations and compositions across them. The aim of this encounter is to enable us to get to know singular experiences as well as shared dilemmas and to develop common notions across them, in order to build networks of knowledge sharing and mutual support.

We will be working across a variety of formats and themes in this encounter, ranging from micropolitical to geopolitical issues, and from drifts and workshops to panel debates. Across Thursday 30th july (evening) to Sunday 1st August (afternoon), we will discuss: movements and politics in Lithuania, Knowledge production across territories and contexts, Peripheries and post-soviet geo-political conflict, Migration and displacement from the peripheries, and Social movements and new electoral platforms.



Conference “(In)security in a global age”

25-26 September 2015, Cambridge University

Have the hopes of “alternative horizons” been dashed through a failure to turn crisis into social change?Following the success of the first Cambridge Graduate Conference in Sociology on Crisis and Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons, this year’s edition will seek to explore in what way the defining issues of our time may be the longing for security and the fear of insecurity.

For social movement researchers this panel may be especially interesting:

Politics of Austerity: parties, movements and citizens

We accept papers on the political reactions to austerity and its impact on democratic life. Papers investigating changes in the party systems, the creation and participation in movements, and the perceptions of citizens about the changes taking place.

More info: https://insecurityinaglobalage.wordpress.com/



“Representation, the People, and Political Leadership”

University of Minho, Braga – Portugal
14-15 January 2016   http://bragacolloquium.weebly.com

Keynote speaker
Nadia Urbinati (Columbia University)

Call for papers
The Political Theory Group of the University of Minho is delighted to announce the inaugural event of the Braga Colloquium in the History of Moral and Political Philosophy: an international annual conference to be held every year in January at the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal. The purpose of this new conference series is to promote the study of the tradition of political and moral philosophy and its legacy in shaping our institutions, culture and beliefs. In this important respect, the conference series will focus on how this tradition can contribute to tackling the challenges our societies are facing today. Every year the conference will focus on a specific theme, which will be chosen by taking in consideration the current political situation in Europe (and beyond).

In line with the spirit behind this new series of conferences, the first edition of the Braga Colloquium in the History of Moral and Political Philosophy will be dedicated to explore the ideas of “representation”, “the people”, and “political leadership”. Since Thomas Hobbes, we have come to understand that the idea of the ‘sovereign people’, and its expression by the state through the idea of representation, is a fiction that makes possible the collective exercise of power on the large scale of modern states. Modern thinkers such as Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, the Federalists, Burke, and Weber or, more recently, Pitkin, Habermas, Rawls, Arendt, or Pettit, have offered a rich panoply of ways of constructing such a fiction. But also in the ancient tradition of, say, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, or Marsilius of Padua, when the question of ‘representation’ was still not explicitly thematized, we can find suggestive insights to think about this topic. Importantly, these different fictional accounts of ‘the sovereign people’ yield different political outcomes, different forms of state, different forms of political participation, different relationships between the people and their political representatives, and so on. At the same time, each of these fictions are based on some critical assumptions regarding, for instance, the capacities needed to engage in politics and how they are distributed among the people, the source of political authority, the level of (in)commensurability between different worldviews, what it means to represent in political terms, and so on.

The deep crisis of representative institutions in Europe’s and the concomitant rise of new (or supposedly new) forms of populism have made it absolutely urgent to reassess how we articulate the relationship between our ideas of ‘representation’, ‘the people’, and ‘political leadership’, in particular taking into consideration which political outcomes our conceptions engender and on which political assumptions they are based. We invite scholars interested in these topics to propose papers that interrogate the history of moral and political thought⎯ancient, modern, and contemporary⎯in order to illuminate our current predicament.
Submission guidelines

Abstracts, of no more than 500 words, should be sent to: grupoteoriapolitica@ilch.uminho.pt

Deadline 31st August 2015

In addition to the abstract, please include in your proposal your academic title, name, affiliation, and the title of your contribution.
The official language of the conference will be English.

Organization Political Theory Group, CEHUM-University of Minho

Summer School on methods for the study of political participation and mobilization, Florence, 14-25 September 2015

The Summer School will last 10 teaching days for a total of 60 hours of didactic activities, from the 14th to the 25th of September 2015. The Summer School will cover the following topics through 2 and 4 hours teaching slots: archival research; comparative historical studies and methods; participant observation; doing fieldwork during violent conflicts; interviewing activists; discourse analysis in social movement research; frame analysis in social movement research; social network analysis, how and when in social movement research; protest event analysis; surveys in political participation and mobilization; online tools and digital methods for the study of mobilizations; visuals in the study of social movements.

The Summer School will include three keynote speeches on social movements and research methods. Confirmed keynote speakers are: Prof. Donatella della Porta (SNS and EUI); Prof. Verta Taylor (University of California, Santa Barbara); Prof. Michele Micheletti (TBC, Stockolm University).

The Summer School will take place at the Scuola Normale Superiore, in Florence, Italy.

Email contact for questions and clarifications about the Summer School: pam.summerschool[AT]gmail.com

Director  Prof. Donatella della Porta (Scuola Normale Superiore and European University Institute);
Co-director   Dr. Alice Mattoni (European University Institute);
Academic Assistant  Lorenzo Zamponi (European University Institute)

The Summer School is kindly supported by:

  • The Standing Group on Participation and Mobilization of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR);
  • Scuola Normale Superiore, Istituto di Scienze Umane in Florence;
  • Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS) at the Scuola Normale Superiore and the European University Institute.

The Summer School focuses on how to analyze present and past forms of grassroots participation activated by social movement and civil society actors at the local, regional and transnational level. More in general, it aims at disseminating knowledge on how to investigate processes and mechanisms that sustain the active citizens’ participation to and mobilization in the realm of politics.
Grassroots participation and radical democracy have been at the centre of the public and political debate from 2008 onwards, when a new wave of contention crossed the entire world: from protests in Iceland to those in the MENA region, Southern Europe, North America and Latin America. The emergence of new protest movements requires scholars to reflect on the research strategies and methodologies that are employed to study grassroots participation and radical democracy.

Although there is a considerable amount of research done on how social movements and civil society actors mobilize, specialized literature on how to actually investigate this phenomena is rare, although increasingly necessary. The Summer School addresses this gap discussing how to apply the most common methods in the social sciences to investigate political participation and mobilization.

The Summer School is open to 20 graduate and master students as well as early career researchers with a specialized interest in participation and mobilization in different fields of study, including political science, political sociology, political communication, and political anthropology from throughout European and beyond.

Applicants must email a cover letter in which they explain how the Summer School would be beneficial for their research, a 500-word abstract of their proposed paper, and a curriculum vitae no later than 20th of April 2015: to pam.summerschool[AT]gmail.com

Applicants will be informed of the outcome by email as soon as possible. Those offered places must confirm their participation within 7 days, after which places may be offered to applicants on the reserve list.

Students will be required to write and submit a 7.000-8.000 words paper before the starting of the Summer School. The paper will be then presented and discussed during one of the afternoon sessions.

Students will be also required to complete the mandatory readings for morning lectures and method sessions (see below) and to actively participate in discussion during morning and afternoon sessions.

Successful participation in the Summer School will be fully accredited with 30 credits.

More information: http://www.sns.it/didattica/isus/menunews/summer/14-25september/

New Publication: Conceptualizing Culture in Social Movement Research

Edited by Britta Baumgarten, Priska Daphi, Peter Ullrich

Culture has become a prominent concept in social movement research. It is, however, often employed in an unsystematic and limited way. This volume introduces and compares different concepts of culture in social movement research. It assesses advantages and shortcomings of existing concepts and introduces new approaches. In particular, it addresses facets of cultural theory that have hitherto been largely neglected in the literature on social movements. This includes ideas from anthropology, discourse analysis, sociology of emotions, narration, spatial theory, and others. The chapters in this volume address three relationships between social movements and culture: culture as a framework for movements, social movements’ internal culture, and culture and cultural change as a result of social movement activity. For the purpose of making concepts easily accessible, each contribution explains its approach to culture in an understandable way and illustrates it with recent cases of mobilization.



large parts online for free: http://books.google.de/books?id=5HCoBAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=conceptualizing+culture+in+social+movement+research&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ofQ0VLCmH-a8ygPmmIDgCw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=conceptualizing%20culture%20in%20social%20movement%20research&f=false

Discount flyer: Flyer Conceptualizing Culture in Social Movement Research

Table of Contents

1. Protest and Culture: Concepts and Approaches in Social Movement Research. An Introduction; Peter Ullrich, Priska Daphi, and Britta Baumgarten

2. Feeling – Thinking: Emotions as Central to Culture; James Jasper
3. ‘A Whole Way of Struggle?’: Western Marxisms, Social Movements and Culture; Laurence Cox
4. Reassessing the Culture Concept in the Analysis of Global Social Movements: An Anthropological Perspective; June Nash
5. Culture and Activism Across Borders; Britta Baumgarten
6. Comparing Discourse between Cultures: A Discursive Approach to Movement Knowledge; Peter Ullrich and Reiner Keller
7. Culture and Movement Strength from a Quantitative Perspective: A Partial Theory; Jochen Roose
8. Movement Space: A Cultural Approach; Priska Daphi
9. Movement Culture as Habit(us): Resistance to Change in the Routinized Practices of Resistance; Cristina Flesher Fominaya
10. Memory and Culture in Social Movements; Nicole Doerr
11. Embodying Protest: Culture and Performance within Social Movements; Jeffrey Juris
12. Moving Culture: Transnational Social Movement Organisations as Translators in a Diffusion Cycle; Olga Malets and Sabrina Zajak
13. Memory Battles over May ’68: Interpretative Struggles as Cultural Re-Play of Social Movements; Erik Neveu

CfP: Between Resilience and Resistance: Grassroots (Economic) Activism in Times of Crisis Guest Editors


Between Resilience and Resistance: Grassroots (Economic) Activism in Times of Crisis Guest Editors: Giacomo D’Alisa,  ICTA -UAB, Francesca Forno and Simone Maurano, University of Bergamo

Looking at the history of social movements, we may identify periods during which these actors have prevalently opposed the dominant power structure di-rectly by using protest actions (i.e. conflicting and resisting the dominant socioeconomic structure), and periods in which movements have prevalently proposed and sustained forms of self-help and self-production – mutualism, economic co-operativism – i.e. developing their resilience through commoning.
Like in the past, the mobilizing capacity of social movements to this day is conditioned by the environment within which these actors operate. The degree of openness/closedness of political, economic and cultural opportunities not only affects the action strategies adopted by these collective actors, but also their organizational structure.

Submission procedure

– long abstracts (about 1,000 words): 30 April 2014
– Selection of long abstracts: 31 May 2014

– Submission of selected paper: 31 October 2014
– Provision of peer review feedback: 31 January 2015
– Submission of revised drafts: 31 March 2015

Please refer to the editorial guidelines available at http://siba-ese.unisalento.it/index.php/paco/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions
Please address any queries to: francesca.forno@unibg.it

Call for Papers: ECPR General Conference, Glasgow, 3-6 September 2014

Section title: Citizens’ Resilience in Times of Crisis

Section chair: Marco Giugni (University of Geneva), Section co-chair: Maria Grasso (University of Sheffield)

Deadline: 5 February 2014

This section aims to provide evidence-based knowledge about citizens’ resilience in times of economic crises allowing for providing more effective policy responses to the negative consequences of such crises. It examines in particular the ways in which European citizens have reacted to the crisis that, at different degree of intensity in different countries, struck Europe since 2008, but also how they deal with economic crises and their consequences more generally. This may encompass a wide range of strategies and forms of resilience by citizens, from exiting from the political sphere and withdrawing from political engagement to voicing their concerns and engage in political action. It may also refer to citizens who choose different channels and strategies to make their voice heard as an active reaction to crises. Not only can they engage in political action and protest, but they may seek access to justice at various levels (from local to European and international) and take part in the associational life of their community. Economic crises may also open up new opportunities for political parties – in particular, right-wing populist parties – which voters might consider as providing attractive solutions to cope with the negative consequences of the crisis. In addition, citizens might develop new attitudes and practices towards the economic system, society at large, and their own place within it. Studies show the existence of a wide repertoire of non-capitalist practices that involve citizens lowering their cost of living, connecting to other communities and assisting others. Alternative forms of resilience include the strengthening of social and family networks and community practices to foster solidarity in the face of crises, change of lifestyles towards more sustainable forms of consumption and production, developing new artistic expressions, moving abroad for short or long durations (or on the contrary reducing mobility). In brief, the section examines both individual and collective responses by citizens, both the private and the public dimensions of such responses, and both political and non-political responses. In addition, special attention will be paid to new and alternative forms of resilience in times of crises. The section relates to the EU-funded project LIVEWHAT (Living with Hard Times: How European Citizens Deal with Economic Crises and Their Social and Political Consequences), which is coordinated by the section chair. The aim is to create a dialogue as well as a cross-fertilization of finding between the research outputs of this project and the wider scholarly community working in this field, also with the aim of establishing a research network of scholars working on this topic. The section is supported by the Standing Group on Participation and Mobilization. Panel 3 is also part of the section on Forms of Political Violence.

The section includes eight panels:

Panel 1: Changing interactions between publics and policies in times of crises

Panel chair: Manlio Cinalli (Sciences Po Paris)

This panel deals with relational mechanisms at the meso-level beyond the consideration of policy change at the macro- level and variations of political behaviour in time of crisis. The current crisis is often discussed in terms of its bad impact on a number of ‘deviant’ forms of political behaviour, in particular, electoral abstention, political aphasia, or alternatively, affiliation to left/right extreme movements/parties (and the recourse to extreme forms of political mobilisation). The increasing call for a ‘normalised’ political inclusion is also bringing about many calls for reforms in terms of labour market, social policy, access to citizenship, as well as specific policies targeting the most vulnerable groups. Yet, relational dynamics stand out as a crucial filter between channels for political access, flow of resources, and identities on the one hand, and both the micro- (individuals) and the meso- (organisations) levels of political participation on the other hand. Attention on these relational dynamics allows for assessing the roles and positions of a large number of different actors –—including policy-makers, political elites, movements of citizens, vulnerable groups, organisations mobilising on their behalf, as well as various civil society stakeholders.

Going beyond an approach looks especially at associational membership as an ‘individual’ attribute that impacts upon the political participation of ‘individuals’, this panel thus looks at relational dynamics across the public domain and the policy domain, considering different types of actors, and possibly, different policy and issue fields. The relationship between the domain of policy-making and the public domain of political intervention considers that these two domains are independent from each other, without the assumption that one affects necessarily the other. Accordingly, the panel can assess the extent to which variations of political participation in times of crisis, both at the micro- and at the meso-level, can be linked to specific relational mechanisms, which filter the impact of more ‘distant’ explanans. This panel welcomes empirical papers dealing with both national and sub-national spaces, as well as theoretical papers questioning the nature of the relationship between policy-making and (sub)national publics in times of crisis.

Send abstracts to manlio.cinalli@sciencespo.fr

 Panel 2: Political responsiveness in times of crisis

Panel chair: Katrin Uba (Uppsala University)

Discussant: Laura Morales (University of Leicester)

Protests against government policies are not rare although at the time of economic crisis there are probably more reasons for protests and therefore also move contentious mobilization. Policy-makers are blamed if they are not proposing any plans for remedying the citizens’ difficulties or if they do propose some too radical austerity plans. The interesting question, especially in the contexts of democratic governments, is the authorities’ responsiveness to such citizens’ protests. Do activists actually achieve what they ask for (a new constitution, regulation, legislation or a resignation of a politician) or do their efforts fail and governments continue with their policies? More importantly, in what context these processes take place? Can we say that at the time of crisis there is more policy responsiveness because of all the insecurity? Or is the situation opposite and governments are rather following the requests of the international community than their own protesting citizens? Is the short term success actually an achievement the activists looked for and what are the unintended political consequences of contentious actions in times of crisis.

This panel welcomes papers that deal with the above outlined questions and systematically examine the governments’ long and short term responsiveness to citizens’ demands in times of crisis, particularly to such demands that are expressed via non-electoral forms of actions. Comparative papers are particularly welcome, but even interesting case studies, which help to improve our understanding of political responsiveness, are very welcome.

 Send abstracts to katin.uba@uu.se

 Panel 3: Political violence in times of economic crisis

Panel chairs: Lorenzo Bosi (European University Institute), Panel co-chair: Lorenzo Zamponi (European University Institute)

The goal of this panel is to advance the understanding of political violence in times of economic crisis. In order to do this we are concerned with addressing the following interrelated research questions: How do violent repertoires of contention relate to the context of economic crisis? Does economic hardship provide incentives to the use of violent tactics? Which forms of political violence are most widely used in this context? Why, and with which outcomes? How does the context of economic crisis impact on the level of socially tolerated violence and on the individuals’ availability to certain tactics? Which kind of justification of political violence is pursued in times of economic crisis? Which political groups are more likely to turn to violence in this context? How do security forces react to political violence in time of crisis? We welcome submissions coming from different disciplinary fields, in the attempt to bridge the scholarship on political violence with the empirical analysis of the social outcomes of the economic crisis. Each abstract will be evaluated for: quality and clarity of the research question; methodological precision in the comparative approach; theoretically original contribution and discussion of available knowledge; relevance and pertinence to the workshop’s themes.

Send abstracts to lorenzo.bosi@eui.eu and lorenzo.zamponi@eui.eu

 Panel 4: Economic crises and social citizenship

 Panel chair: Maria Theiss (University of Warsaw)

Economic crises, and particularity current economic recession starting in 2008, have caused far-reaching decrease in citizens’ social security. As a result changes occur in two intertwined spheres of citizens’ political participation and welfare state functioning. Thus, there are at least three (new) forms of pressure to the welfare state: need to adjust the protective measures, responding to rising citizens’ claims and the growing scarcity of financial resources.

The aim of the panel is to address the issues of welfare state changes from the citizenship perspective. It focuses on the change of social rights, and particularly on the following questions: If the balance between social rights and social responsibilities shifts, and if so how? What changes regarding universalism, generosity and scope of risks covered occur in spite of crisis? How the (re)defining of social entitlement shapes the new boundaries of a political community? For the purpose of the panel the broad notion of social citizenship is presumed, which includes formal social rights, but also informal practices, including the use of discretion rules and street-level democracy on both national and local level.

Papers are welcome which apply the theoretical perspective of social citizenship in its various versions, ranging from classical ones to more recent post-structuralist or feminist notions to (comparative) analyses of welfare state changes related to crisis. The papers may refer to general or specific policy fields (e.g. social security system, labour market policies, family policies) and related changes on national or local level.

 Send abstracts to m.theiss@uw.edu.pl

Panel 5: Economic crises and the rise of populism

 Panel chair: Jordi Muñoz (Autonomous University of Barcelona)

Economic turmoil has often been connected with the rise of populist political movements and parties. Unemployment and other personal and social consequences of economic crises have been found to favor vote for extreme-right parties and participation in populist movements. However, this is not a universal implication of economic downturns: even within the current European crsis we find a great deal of variation in terms of the rise of such parties and movements, across and within countries. Therefore, we are interested in understanding under what conditions do economic crises breed populism. The panel welcomes comparative research focused on the contextual and invididual factors that condition this relationship, as well as case-studies that provide insights on the causal mechanisms that link crises with increased support for extreme right and populist parties and movements.

Send abstracts to jordi.munoz@uab.cat

Panel 6: Citizens’ political responses to economic crises: Grievances or opportunities?

 Panel chair: Maria Grasso (University of Sheffield)

Do economic crises lead to greater or lesser political participation? Do grievances lead to protest and other forms of unconventional political engagement? Or rather, does the experience of economic crisis lead people to exit the political sphere? How does this vary for the conventional and unconventional political domains? And what about membership of SMOs and NGOs? Do findings apply to the general population or only to those groups most hard hit by the economic crisis? Grievances and relative deprivation have been increasingly dismissed as explanations for political protest. Instead, mobilization models emphasizing the importance of resources, political opportunities, and  the construction of ideological frames for political solidarity have received more support. But may hardships stemming from economic crisis rather spur political engagement as recent waves of contention seem to suggest? What is the role of absolute and relative deprivation? In relation to which reference group(s) should the latter be understood?

To address these important questions for understanding political participation in times of crisis, this panel invites papers addressing the political responses of citizens to economic crises, and in particular the role of grievances and opportunities for explaining such responses. Both individual-level and collective-level analyses can be proposed, insofar as they focus on political responses to economic crises. Empirical comparative studies are particularly welcome. Some further research questions that could be considered include: How do different types of European citizens construct economic crisis and how does this relate to their political participation? Do European citizens feel the at the European Union’s reactions to the economic crises have been adequate? Do they feel more confident or less confident in the European Union as a result and does this have any repercussions on their political activism?  Are there important differences across social groups and countries in constructions of crisis and in citizens’ political reactions? Is the role of grievances and/or opportunities more important in some contexts than others?

Send abstracts to m.grasso@sheffield.ac.uk

 Panel 7: Resource-poor people in times of crisis

 Panel chair: Christian Lahusen (University of Siegen)

The past decades have provided ample evidence for the ability of poorly resourced people (e.g., the unemployed, working poor, undocumented workers and migrants) to protest on their behalf, thus overcoming their state of social and political marginalization. The economic and political crisis spreading throughout Europe since 2008 has not terminated these mobilizations, as illustrated by protest waves in the European South (e.g., Portugal, Spain and Greece). Individual cases have received ample consideration (e.g., the Spanish ‘Indignados’), but no consistent picture has been portrayed so far.

This panel aims at studying these protests in a more systematic manner by presenting, analyzing and discussing available evidence from various mobilization waves. It proposes to address a number of relevant questions. On the one hand, it is necessary to assess the role of poorly resourced people in the protests against the hardships of the crisis and the policies advanced by the European Union and national governments to combat economic recession. In how far were deprived people proactively involved in these protests? Where they able to stabilize their mobilization across time? And are we speaking primarily of local events, or did protests develop a national and/or European range of activity? On the other hand, it will be interesting to discuss conditions, mechanisms and consequences of these protests. Do times of crisis provide more favorable conditions for the mobilization of the poorly resourced people by increasing the relevance of their claims, expanding the range of allies and improving public support, or do we need to acknowledge also new impediments? What does the varying intensity of protests across the European Union tell us in comparative terms about beneficial or inhibitive conditions? What can we learn about the conditions of a successful scale-shift of local protests of poorly resourced people towards the national and/or European level? And can we say anything about the outcomes of these protests, i.e., does the mobilization of the people most severely hit by the economic crisis have any impact on public policies at local, national or European level? We invite papers that address these questions and allow deepening our empirical and theoretical knowledge. While the focus will be on poorly resourced people, the panel is open to research about different constituencies, policy issues and countries. Comparative papers are particularly welcome, but also relevant case studies.

Send abstracts to lahusen@soziologie.uni-siegen.de

 Panel 8: Alternative forms of resilience in times of crisis

 Panel chair: Maria Kousis (University of Crete)

The aim of this panel is to contribute to the study of collective responses to economic and political threats as they are reflected in alternative forms of economic and noneconomic activities by citizens confronting hard economic times and falling rights, especially since the global financial crisis of 2008.

Expanding world-wide, collective responses to economic threats under neoliberal policies, tend to cover basic and urgent needs relate to food, shelter, health, childcare and education. Alternative collective actions and initiatives of resilience include: solidarity-based exchanges and networks, cooperative structures, barter clubs and networks, credit unions, ethical banks, time banks, alternative social currency, citizens’ self-help groups, presumption practices, social enterprises, and others.

Related studies center on innovative practices (e.g. clubes de trueque) which sprang during the economic crisis in Argentina and other Latin America regions. Nevertheless, similar initiatives have developed in Europe before and after the crisis of 2008 – e.g. the SOL social currency Project in France; regional currencies support by NGOs in Germany aiming to support local economies; the flourishing of local currencies and barter networks in Greece and Spain; the alternative cashless production and exchange systems Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) in the UK; and, Ethical banks promoting ethical commitment, ideology and principles.

These alternative practices attest to a new kind of politics through the creation of bottom-up participatory initiatives promoting a ‘solidarity economy’,   as seen in countries confronting crises in the past.  Papers addressing such alternative forms of resilience at a theoretical, comparative, or empirical level would be most suitable.

Send abstracts to kousis.m@uoc.gr



International workshop “Transnational public participation and social movement activism”

Early career scholars workshop on Ambiguities of global spread, professionalization and standardization

14-15 November 2013

Call for papers is open until 18th August 2013: workshop_lisbon_cfp_final

The workshop is dedicated to questions linking transnational public participation research with transnational social movement activism research and pointing to dynamics of global spread, professionalization and standardization. It aims at discovering linkages, differences and ambiguities in both research fields and invites contributions from diverse disciplines. The workshop includes a public keynote dialogue between Dr. Mikko Rask, Finnish National Consumer Research Centre (confirmed), and Prof. Marisa von Bülow, Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile and University of Brasília, Brazil (tbc) on linkages and challenges of transnational public participation and social movement activism. It concludes with a plenary discussion on political and societal relevance and implications of public participation and social movement research with Prof. Tiago Santos Pereira, University of Coimbra (confirmed), Portugal and Prof. Frank Fischer, Rutgers University, USA and University of Kassel, Germany (confirmed).

Outline of the topic

Designs and processes of participation, deliberation and activist forms become established globally addressing various policy issues and different policy levels. Social movement activist forms such as assemblies as well as ready-made templates and techniques for public participation such as citizen juries, consensus conferences, deliberative pollings, foresights, citizen budget forums etc. become developed worldwide and spread around the globe. However, they become more established in some regions while others remain less fertile for democratic and social innovations. The public participation design knowledge travels among experts, practitioners and citizens increasingly in a transnational and translocal setting.

The climate of uncertainty and risks of modernity, requirements of good governance and strong social movements are contextual factors increasing the demand for different/new models of participation. On the one hand this leads to standardization and homogenization of approaches around the world, on the other hand it faces the diversity of intellectual, cultural and political backgrounds that influence norms and values of what is seen to be the ‘good’, the ‘right’ and the ‘efficient’ participation.

The increasing spread of public participation principles and methods brings up ambivalent dynamics and dilemmas such as

* Circulation of concepts, models and techniques:

Different concepts of democracy and representation co-exist and built a fragmented meta-discourse as references for diverse fields of participation practices, at the same time single models and techniques circulate as best-practice. The concepts, models and techniques from diverse cultural, theoretical and normative backgrounds travel transnational and entangle in new combinations, not necessarily frictionless. .

* Diversity and hybridization versus homogenization and standardization:

The spectrum of models and techniques is characterized by diversity and homogenization at the same time. New application problems or trends towards good governance, and calls for more democratization by social movements and protest groups bring new designs and techniques for participation. Existing models become modified to hybrids and single designs become dominant practices and de facto standards in the field, some of them even legally installed.

* Specialized expertise and professionalization:

Expertise for public participation models and processes becomes more and more complex and specialized. It is stored in handbooks, academic publications and is openly accessible in specialized websites. Conferences and trainings are elements in this knowledge production chain and professionals such as facilitators, moderators, policy consultants, global activists and academics built their career on it. Participation becomes a matter of ‘experts.’

The workshop approaches reflection on the transnational formation and standardization of public participation with three foci:

1) Global spread of new action forms, practices and models for public participation: How do action forms and practices travel, how are they modified and adapted, and finally how do they become established in a new context? How do transnational formation and standardization become established? How are they intermingled with the spread and the increasing diffusion and how do they shape the field of participatory innovations? It’s worth to raise questions of how norms and standards of designs and normative principles lead to automatism and establishment of potentially taken for granted approaches of public participation and challenge to look which mechanisms and forms of conformance, modifications and resistance to standards appear. Participatory Budgets, for example were practiced at a municipal level in Porto Alegre already in 1989 and from there spread worldwide. Social movement practices, e.g. the way deliberation is practiced in the assemblies of the Spanish 15M, often trace back to older social movement practices in other regions of the world. These practices are not simply copied, but constantly adapted.

2) Normalization and professionalism in expertise: How do dynamics of transnational normalization and mainstreaming of public participation models go hand in hand with professionalism of experts of public participation? What about the role of experts mediating between citizens / stakeholders and decision makers / policy makers? Can we see trends towards commercialization of public participation practices and an evolving ‘participatory industry’ of participation consultants? How does this affect the spread and the legitimacy of participatory processes? For instance development agencies, like US Aid or GIZ (former GTZ), over a long time have generated a large expertise in how to improve participation in development projects which has gain acceptance as so-called expert knowledge but partly competes or contradicts with the local knowledge and cultural scripts for problem solving.

3) The making and shaping of public participation models: How are transnational formation and standardization shaped by the social construction of public participation (models)? The knowledge production of public participation models provides a range of approaches on public participation. This includes competing alternative models for participation, controversies over authority of normative conceptions for democratic quality and efficient policy making and competing legitimacy claims of models and actors involved. The framing of ‘the public’ (the role of representation, self-selection versus random-selection), ‘the right way to talk’ (for instance based on rationality, consensus oriented) and the desired outcome of participation (activating citizenship, preventing social resistance, empowerment of marginable groups) includes implicit diverse normative conceptions of democracy and politics and shapes the reality the models are used in. This is why the look into the making of public participation models becomes crucial.

Related to these themes we are especially interested in papers that deal with empirical examples which give insights into designs or forms for participation, deliberation and social movements activism that make global claims or travel across different localities. Examples are the World Wide Views, pan-European approaches on participatory processes (European Citizen Consultation, Meeting of Minds, Europolis, etc.) or large-scale processes such as the Australian Citizens’ Parliament, recent developments of transnational and global social movements, the World Social Forum and its regional forms (the continental ones, country specific and local social forums, etc.), transfer of action forms (related to the Occupy Movement, Pussy Riot, Femen, etc.) and models of democracy from below (as for example participatory budgeting approaches, deliberative pollings, foresights), development of internal meeting cultures, and practices to overcome unequal participation due to status differences or language by these social movement actors.

Target audience:

The workshop welcomes conceptual, theoretical and empirical contributions from early career scholars (including PhD-candidates and Post-docs) addressing one or more of these foci. Contributions combining different research perspectives on participatory and deliberative policies and social movements engagement, from public policy and governance studies, interpretative policy analysis, organizational studies, urban and planning studies, innovation studies, science and technology studies, geography and anthropology are explicitly welcomed.

Publication plans:

The workshop aims at providing an appropriate spirit and format supportive in particular for ambitious early career scholars who are interested in publications. Therefore experienced scholars as discussants shall help to elaborate manuscripts towards publishable papers. Selected authors will be invited for international peer reviewed publication activities afterwards.

Submission procedure:

Extended abstracts should be no longer than 300 words, written in English and contain a clear outline of the argument, the conceptual, theoretical and/or empirical framework, methodology and results. Abstracts for empirical papers further should include a brief description of the data used. They should be sent to nina.amelung@tu-berlin.de not later than 18th of August 2013.

Special Events: Lisbon is one of Europes’ most exciting cities which we would like to introduce to the participants of the workshop with the special focus on its social movements and public participation activities. Therefore we meet for a ‘reception’ on Wednesday, October 13, the evening before the workshop starts at MOB, a cultural centre run by two activist groups the Precários Inflexíveis (“The Inflexible Precarious Workers” an association that fights on behalf of the precarious workers) and Group Hassan (a cultural initiative, offering e.g. Hip Hop courses)). Further we offer a walk through Mouraria, a revitalized district in the historical center of Lisbon which tells us a story about the ambiguities of activating residents from diverse cultures and identities for public participation.


The workshop will take place at CESNOVA – Centre for Sociological Studies of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa – and CIES – Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology of the University Institute of Lisbon.

Time planning:

Deadline for abstracts: 18th of August 2013

Announcement selected abstracts: after 15th of September 2013

Deadline for papers: 31st of October 2013

Workshop: 14th and 15th of November 2013, reception on 13th of November, guided Lisbon tour on 16th of November


The Workshop is hosted in collaboration of CESNOVA at Universidade de Nova and CIES at Instituto Universitário de Lisboa. The concept is developed by Nina Amelung, Innovation in Governance Research Group at Technische Universität Berlin / CESNOVA at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Dr. Britta Baumgarten, CIES – Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology, University Institute of Lisbon.

Management team (alphabetical order): Nina Amelung, Dr. Britta Baumgarten, Madalena Corte Real, Cristina Oliveira

Scientific committee (alphabetical order): Nina Amelung, Dr. Britta Baumgarten, Prof. Breno Bringel, Prof. António Moniz, Prof. Beatriz Padilla, Dr. Mikko Rask and N.N.

Conference fees and support for travel costs: There is no workshop fee planned. Accommodation and lunch/ dinner costs are individual costs. Unfortunately we cannot offer travel reimbursement, but help with information about funding programs.


Nina Amelung, Innovation in Governance Research Group /CESNOVA, nina.amelung@tu-berlin.de

Britta Baumgarten, Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology, University Institute of Lisbon, britta.baumgarten@gmail.com

The workshop is supported by the German Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung.

Text Christine Auer: “Affects in political protests”

O texto “Affects in political protests” da Christine Auer foi apresentado  no Workshop “Protestos e Movimentos Sociais Contemporâneos em Portugal” no dia 21 de fevereiro, no ISCTE, Lisboa.


The investigation this paper seeks to explore the significance of affects in current
protest movements against austerity measures in Lisbon. Based on a field research using
the method of sound ethnography, protest forms of new social movements are compared
with more traditional ones like trade-union demonstrations.
According to Brian Massumi, affect has recently become more important to understand
power than ideology. In his opinion, the modulation of affects even substitutes traditional
ideologies in politics. Referring to Spinoza, Massumi perceives affect as a resource of
creativity and potential and suggests that alternative politics should also use this. Based on
these assumptions, the question is: How is affect modulation used by different groups in the framework of current political protest in Lisbon, and what kind of potential does that create?
The data of the investigation is based on recordings collected during a field research in
Lisbon during two weeks of significant protest events in September and November 2012
respectively. The ongoing analysis of the material focuses on a comparison between the
practices of “Que se lixe a troika”- protest alliance that organized one of the biggest
demonstrations in Portugal in recent decades, and other protest movements of the same
time period and moment of history.
The methodological approach is not based on traditional sound studies, but on the idea of an ethnography of the senses. It is presumed that affects can be perceived through the sounds of demonstrations: the way somebody talks while giving an interview, not only the content of political slogans but also the way they are shouted, the fact that some things are audible at a demonstration and others not etc. Thus, the method opens an additional dimension to textual and visual approaches and allows an approximation to a truly thick description.
Like this, the text is also a reflection on the methodology: What can an ethnography of sound contribute to the investigation of social movements?