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Call for Papers From Contention to Social Change: Rethinking the Consequences of Social Movements and Cycles of Protests

Call for Papers
From Contention to Social Change: Rethinking the Consequences of Social Movements and Cycles of Protests

ESA Research Network on Social Movements – Midterm Conference
19-20 February 2015 – Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

A considerable amount of recent research has been devoted to the effects of mobilization with the intent of specifying how social movements produce social changes of various sorts. Political outcomes – including the responsiveness of decision-makers – have been studied the most, but scholarly interest in other types of effects is also growing. Among the effects that have drawn the attention of scholars are the changed behavior of economic actors and market institutions (economic effects); opinions, beliefs and collective identities of the movements’ participants and of their audience (cultural impacts); as well as variations in the life-course of individuals who participate in movement activities (biographical consequences). Sometimes these effects are intentional and sometimes not. In fact, on occasion they are contrary to the aims of those who produce them. Still, it is clear that contentious actions – whether they take the form of small local petitions, large street demonstrations or transnational campaigns mobilized on-line – transcend the internal life of social movements and have an influence on the rest of society.

Despite the abundance of research on these themes, some aspects of the consequences of social movements are still understudied.

First, while the role of the contentiousness of protest actions or the number of mobilized activists has been well-discussed, we know relatively little about how important the content of claims is for achieving movements’ goals. Framing has been shown to play a role in shaping political outcomes in some contexts, but more research could be done in this field. For example, how does the deliberative quality of the arguments made by the movement matter for the mobilization of further (the next wave) protests or for political outcomes?

Second, how does the success or failure of the movement affect the attitudes (e.g., perceived political efficacy and responsiveness) and future mobilization of the activists? There is, in general, little known about the failures and disengagement of social movements, but the consequences of such processes should be particularly noteworthy for those interested in the development of civil society.

Third, how the growing use of on-line media in social movement mobilization affect the consequences of social movements? For instance, does it lead to less sustainable mobilisation and thereby more failures? How does the use of Twitter or Facebook affect the cultural or biographical outcomes?

The mid-term conference of the ESA Research Network on Social Movements will focus on the preceding questions and welcomes both theoretical and empirical papers that tackle these and closely related issues. Single case studies and comparative studies are equally welcome.

Proposals should include the title of the proposed paper, an abstract of up to 300 words, the author’s name and affiliation. All abstracts should be in English.

The deadline for proposals is 30 September 2014 and they should be sent to both of the organizers (see the About section of the website). Decisions will be communicated by 31 October. Participants will be asked to submit their papers no later than 19 January 2015.

From Contention to Social Change is the 2015 Midterm Conference of the Research Network on Social Movements (RN25) of the European Sociological Association (ESA).

The conference organizers and Research Network chairs are: – Eduardo Romanos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (eromanos(at)ucm.es)
Katrin Uba, Uppsala University (katrin.uba(at)statsvet.uu.se).

The RN Midterm Conference 2015 is organized with the support of: European Sociological Association, UCM Faculty of Political Science and Sociology, and TRANSOC Institute on Social Transformations.

CfP: ESA 2011 General Conference – “Crisis, Critique and Change”

The upcoming 11th congress of the European Sociological Association will take place in Turin this year from the 28th to 31th of August, 2013. The Social Movements Research Network (RN 25) invites abstracts to contribute to the sociology of social movements and empirical research on mobilization in various contexts of crisis, critique and change. Comparative work that connects theory, empirical analysis and interdisciplinary methods is particularly encouraged. Please note that one joint session on the role of emotions will be organized together with the network on the Sociology of Emotions. A semi-plenary session will be organized together with Political Sociology. The deadline for Abstract submission is February 1 2013. Paper givers are invited to present papers in the following eight sessions:

Specific Session VI: A Global Dissenting Youth? Student movements and youth activism in the anti-austerity and anti-corporate mobilisations: relevance, role, strategies and effects

Chair: Lorenzo Zamponi, European University Institute, lorenzo.zamponi@eui.eu
Co-Chair: Joseba Fernández González, Universidad del País Vasco, josebafergon@gmail.com
Discussant: Eduardo Romanos Fraile, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, eduardo.romanos@cps.ucm.es

When did the current cycle of global contention start? Can we consider it a single phenomenon or an articulated set of different and interrelated social facts? Which are the shared traits among episodes of collective action placed in different political contexts, cultural settings, social roots and goals? These and other questions are at the core of the contemporary debate on contentious politics, and we aim to contribute in addressing them focusing on a particular aspect that is common to most mobilisations of this cycle: the significant involvement of young people in collective action and in the politics of dissent. Our panel will focus on the student movement, as a social actor which has been active in different countries in the last years, and on youth activism, as a wide set of experiences and practises of contention which have played a relevant role in many different conflicts, contaminating and disseminating contents and forms of mobilisation. The wave of student mobilisation against the corporatisation of education and knowledge and the increasing precarity of work, in fact, is the immediate antecedent of the current wave of protests in Europe, and it might me argued that the contemporary anti-austerity movement discourse has been developing in that context. Furthermore, some scholars have already underlined the role of university campuses as a space for mobilisation and of student loans as a fundamental topic in the Occupy movement in the USA. But generational cleavages are visible also out of the education system, and youth activism has been considered relevant in all the indignados mobilisations, involving the so-called “generation of digital natives”. We invite empirical-oriented papers and interpretive analyses, aiming at building, through the lens of youth activism, a genealogy of the contemporary wave of mobilisation and to contribute to a better understanding of it.


For any additional information on the conference, please make contact Nicole Doerr (Mount Holyoke College), Marianne van de Steeg (FU Berlin)nand/or Alice Mattoni (European University Institute): esasocialmovements@gmail.com

For specific questions on panels proposed as listed above please directly contact panel chairs. Note, however, that all papers ultimately have to be submitted to the ESA’s electronic abstract proposal system until February 1.