Second ISA Forum of Sociology, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1-4 August 2012

Research Committee on
Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change, RC48

  on-line programme

Programme Coordinators

Benjamín TEJERINA, University of the Basque Country, Spain,
Debal SINGHAROY, Indira Gandhi National Open University, India,

Programme committee: Tova BENSKI, College of Management Studies, Israel; Jorge CADENA ROA, UNAM, Mexico; Helena FLAM, Universität Leipzig, Germany; James GOODMAN, University of Technology, Australia; Lauren LANGMAN, Loyola University of Chicago, United States, and Markus SCHULZ, New York University, United States

RC48 Liaison in Argentina
Melina Vázquez, Universidad de Buenos Aires,

Volunteer at the venue
Blas Cuneo,


All Forum participants (presenters, chairs, discussants, etc.) need to pay the early registration fee by April 10, 2012, in order to be included in the programme. If not registered, their names will not appear in the Programme or Abstracts Book.


provisional as of March 15, 2012, in alphabetical order


Acciones colectivas y luchas democratizadoras en Latinoamérica, Europa, y Norte de Africa / Collective action and democratization struggles in Latin America, Europe, and North Africa.


Collective action and the rebirth of social movements for social and economic justice in Chile: causes, demands and result in a global world


Creativity, emotion and risk


Democratising science and technology through protests and mobilizations for social justice

Joint session of RC23 Sociology of Science and Technology [host committee] and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change
Modern Science and technology as social institutions have been elitist compared to other forms of community based, traditional sciences and technologies. Often the latter are treated as indigenous forms of S&T. Such rich traditions that are embedded in socio-cultural systems cannot be treated as mere trash or superstitions. Because these too have been empirically founded, developed through trial and error method and hence have been carriers of some form of verifiable wisdom and experiences. Besides, these too have been found to be socially and culturally more appropriate to certain people/ communities, occupationally and physically non-displacing and ecologically sound. Such traditional and alternative forms of sciences and technologies need recognition and these have often raised their voices for their inclusion and due recognition, meaning, to be in par with modern Science and Technology. This of course means increasing democratization of the institution of modern Science and technology. Thus by being more inclusive S&T would be more democratized and would imbibe spirit social justice of a certain kind.

These voices of protests have been heard in both developed as well as developing countries. This process of democratization refers to the Science, technology and civil society interface areas where civil society agents mostly NGOs/ activist organizations/ intellectuals as pressure groups have influenced policies and shaped the growth of S&T in certain domains. Their mobilizations have been seen to be for protection of indigenous knowledge systems /indigenous technological practices, protection of people against testings of new drugs/ pharmaceuticals, instruments of fertility/ sterility, varying applications of new technologies of ICT type/ Nano technologies, etc in relation to human health.

Similarly in the area of agriculture voices have been raised for maintaining farmers’ rights over seeds, maintaining bio-diversity, traditional varieties of crop species and cropping patterns, etc. Further the impact of bio-technology products on human health and ecology have been severely contested in recent times in different parts of the developing world where NGOs have taken the lead.

All these protests of above kind have been seen as mobilizations both at ground level as well as at the discursive level. And hence these mobilizations have taken the shape of various forms of sustainable/ appropriate/ alternative technology movements, peoples’ science movements, science popularization movements, anti-science movements, anti-ecological movements (targeting epistemological foundation of S&T), anti-globalization movements (of particular kind, involving local/ traditional knowledge systems).


Democratization movements and human rights. Part I


Democratization movements and human rights. Part II


Dynamics of social change. Collective action, social conflict or class struggle? A theoretical debate


From alienation to empowerment Part I

Joint session of RC36 Alienation Theory and Research [host committee] and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change
It has long been evident that domination fosters resistance. But what forms of domination foster resistance, and how does resistance become expressed? Sexual repression, for example, has had a long tradition of fostering underground movements and practices, especially in liminal times/zones. Political repression has led to passive accommodation and ressentiment toward those in power, but, as Nietzsche argued, such ressentiment ultimately serves to render those who are dominated passive and thereby reproduce their domination. The slave mentality thus sustained slavery. In the contemporary world, as traditional structures of domination are being questioned and/or are being eroded, we see a variety of social mobilizations that would challenge alienation and powerlessness. These range from feminism and gay rights to the Arab Spring and social justice movements. This session will focus on the means by which people move from being passive in the face of domination to being agents who seek social transformation.


From alienation to empowerment Part II

Joint session of RC36 Alienation Theory and Research [host committee] and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change


Imagining futures: Social movements, publics, and contentious politics. Part I

Joint session of RC07 Futures Research [host committee] and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change
The Research Committees on Future Research, RC07, and on Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change, RC48, are planning one or more Joint Sessions in English and/or Spanish on contentious politics and on how social movements shape futures. Questions may include (but are not limited to):


Imagining futures: Social movements, publics, and contentious politics. Part II

Joint session of RC07 Futures Research [host committee] and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change


Imagining futures: Social movements, publics, and contentious politics. Part III

Joint session of RC07 Futures Research [host committee] and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change


La voz en las calles iberoamericanas: Las manifestaciones públicas como modo de acción


Movimientos sociales actuales en América Latina I. Posturas frente a la arena político-institucional: Participación, oposición, articulación.


Movimientos sociales actuales en América Latina II. Posturas frente a la arena político-institucional: Participación, oposición, articulación.


Movimientos sociales actuales en América Latina. Part III


New trends and theoretical approach in the field of social mobilizations and social change

Joint session of RC47 Social Classes and Social Movements and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change [host committee]
The aim of this session is to reflect about specific case-studies that have been analysed through theoretical frameworks that try to go beyond current theories usually applied in the field of collective action and social movements. In special, we are looking for works that (a) combine different theoretical perspectives in an original way, (b) compare different researches and offer new interpretations of highly studied phenomena and (c) analyse new forms of mobilization that question the current frameworks. We are not looking for a bibliographical discussion of basic theories to spot their insufficiencies. Our objective is to look for new theoretical interpretations supported by a solid and structured analysis of empirical available –and specifically compiled- evidences.


RC48 Business Meeting


Social movements as embodied collective acts


Strange bedfellows: Activist affinities across difference

This session will explore solidarity in activist contexts. Because social movement scholars sometimes understand movements as evidence of solidarity, we often ignore the obstacles that can arise in the very construction of solidarity within movement contexts. Questions we are interested in pursuing on this panel include: what generates and blocks feelings of solidarity; what does solidarity feel like; how does power figure in solidarity relationships; what produces trust, and paranoia, across difference; in what ways do practices of solidarity reify socially constituted differences; can solidarities be formed without creating an “us vs. them” logic; how do once-present solidarities unravel; can crumbling solidarity be repaired and if so, how? Aware that solidarities sometimes blossom in the strangest of places, themes we are especially interested in exploring include: affinities and reciprocities across chasms of difference; convergences without unity; identity politics that defy standard understandings of identity politics; political hopes generated through surprising encounters; and activism that holds out the possibility of being changed.


Visual representation of injustice and exclusion

Joint session of RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change [host committee] and TG05 Visual Sociology
The images have a strong persuasive power, not only because of what they show (R. Barthes’ ‘studium’), but becuase of their direct, performative impact on the viewer (R. Barthes’ ‘punc tum’). This latter function has been widely used for mobilizing popular activism, either in intentional ways in social or political visual campaigns or as an unintended side-effect of pictures loaded with meaning, producing bolts of conscience (E. Durkheim) or emotional repulsion . The theme of injustice and exclusion has been particularly relevant in human society from the time immemorial. And because of the very nature of the phenomenon, as always related to the subjective feeling of relative deprivation, it has always been more responsive to the immediate, direct experience, whether actual or virtual (by means of images), than to the fact-oriented textual accounts.

The goal of the session is to discuss how this direct, performative and persuasive function of images of injustice and exclusion, provided by film, photography and the media, has contributed to the mobilization of protest events, contestation, social movements and perhaps even revolutions. Historical examples are abundant; enough to mention Civil Rights Movement in the US, or Solidarność Movement in Poland, but also the feminist movement, movements for minority rights (ethnic, or sexual , or religious) trade-union activism and others. Weren’t visual messages important in the current wave of revolutions in the Near-East? In all these and similar cases the demonstration effect has played a powerful role, either by means of images showing human degradation, humiliation, loss of dignit and poverty, or the reverse, showing unjustified affluence, unimaginable riches and conspicuous life-styles (T.Veblen), and raising ‘why-not-myself?’ type of questions.

Has this role changed with the ‘visual turn’, when the iconosphere, as well as the media (including the Internet) are so saturated with images as never before? Aren’t we emotionally insulated from images of injustice and exclusion when they are so abundant and pervasive? Is the persuasive impact of images changing with the evolving substantive and esthetic styles, more and more shocking and brutal (a good example is the evolution of the World Press Photo contest over the last decades)? Isn’t a „boomerang effect” (R.Merton and P.Kendall) observable in this area, leading to the feeling of hopelessness, helplessness and resulting passivism? How to overcome this dilemma? Could we articulate some suggestions as to the most effective visual means for the mobilization of activism in the name of justice and inclusion?

These are just some issues we would like to address in the session. We believe that approaching them in historical as well as cross-cultural perspective may be particularly fruitful. For example we could ask how various epochs differ in the use for visual, mobilizing tools, and perhaps more provocatively, do various contemporary cultures attach various role to images, iconosphere and visual messages, do they differ in the subjects, aeasthetic styles, ethical emphases. The Forum provides particularly good opportunities for cross-cultural comoparisons, and more generalized serendipities.

We expect both theoretical contributions, semiologic analysis of selected images, and concrete, empirical studies of film, photography and the media, by means of comparative, qualitative methods: content analysis, case study, photo-elicitation (projective techniques), focus groups, amateur visual documents and others. Visual illustrations for presentation at the session are of course most welcome.




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International Sociological Association
November 2012