Research Committee on
Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change, RC48
- Benjamín TEJERINA MONTANA, Universidad del País Vasco, Spain, email@example.com
- Ignacia PERUGORRIA, Rutgers University, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
On-line abstracts submissionJune 3, 2013 - September 30, 2013 24:00 GMT.
A direct submission link will be provided in due course.
If you have questions about any specific session, please feel free to contact the Session Organizer for more information.
Proposed sessionsin alphabetical order:
Activists and Activisms Amidst Occupy-Type Protests: Practices, Possibilities and DilemmasSession Organizer
Ignacia PERUGORRIA, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, email@example.com
Session in English/Spanish
Little more than two years have passed since the Tunisian uprisings, the spark that ignited a series of occupy-type protests that spread like wildfire across three different regions of the world: the Arab countries, Southern Europe and the United States. Much has been written about these mobilizations in terms of their struggle against socio-economic inequality, their demands for democratization/“real” democracy, their participatory, horizontal and deliberative organization, the savvy and intensive use of social media/the internet, and the occupation and transformation of the public space into a public sphere. Less has been said, however, about the impact of these traits on the praxis of activism, and on the self-perception and public portrayal of activists themselves. In this session we would like to reflect on the issue of activism amidst the current cycle of protest.
We invite papers addressing the following main topics, among others:
- The interaction between an embodied/territorialized political praxis associated to the occupation of public space, and disembodied/de-territorialized online activism;
- The challenges derived from the political socialization of (usually young) “political neophites,” and the “re-socialization” of “senior” activists trained in hierarchical organizations;
- The display of humor, irony and parody, and the possible inception of a novel type of “ludic activism,” characterized by ingenuity, pleasure, creativity, and play;
- Activists’ previous socio-cultural profiles, militant trajectories, and multiple activisms, and their conflictual embeddedness and articulation in mobilizations that reject politico-ideological “flags and banners” on account of their divisiveness;
- The influence of cultural collectives, hacktivists, bloggers, and community organizers in the implementation of tactics such as sousveillance, media hoaxing, subvertising, flash mobs, street art, and hacktivism, to name but a few;
- The tension between the exclusive category of “activist/militant” and the encompassing identities that were crafted for the social movement community (e.g. “the persons,” “the 99%,” “common people”) in an attempt to garner broad public support.
Aprendizaje en la calle: Cases of Education Reform Movements in Latin AmericaSession Organizers
Jackson FOOTE, University of Wisconsin, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca TARLAU, University of California, USA, email@example.com
Pauline LIPMAN, University of Illinois, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Session in English
This panel features four richly researched empirical papers that attempt to provide a framework for understanding the forms of popular resistance to neoliberal education policies that see emergent movements coalescing around education issues and longstanding social movements extending their agendas to address new education challenges. These papers address how resistance movements in Chile, Brazil, and El Salvador analyze and critique new educational policies, generate programmatic proposals, strengthen cross-issue coalitions, and innovate pedagogically through the movement-building networks they establish.
The first paper investigates the way that a new generation of Chilean students are challenging the neoliberal education legacy of the country’s 17-year military dictatorship, which OECD has called the most unequal among their membership, by framing political opportunities through online social networks and engagement with key media actors.
The second paper offers a look at the historical roots of the current movement in the anti-dictatorial mobilizations of teachers and students in the 1980s.
The third paper examines how the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) has entered the education debate to transform social relations of production in the countryside through critical pedagogy that would enable cooperative ownership and management.
The final paper continues a community-centered approach in assessing how a Salvadorian area traditionally aligned with the once revolutionary FMLN has resisted the World Bank-backed EDUCO program to preserve established popular education approaches. Through in-depth fieldwork, long-form interviews, policy analysis, archival research, examination of media coverage, and study of network structures, these papers provide insight into how education-centered social movements are reshaping the region from the bottom-up.
This research carries implications at multiple levels of social movement analysis, from the impact of movement demands and community structures on regional and national policy to increased understandings of movement dynamics and political process perspectives at the micro, meso, and macro levels.
Civil Society and Collective ActionsSession Organizer
Debal SINGHAROY, Indira Gandhi National Open University, India, email@example.com
Session in English
The civil society in the contemporary world has been posited in a paradoxical situation especially in the context of globalization and the emergence of the neo-liberal state on the one hand, and the resurgence of the culture of grass roots resistance on the other. The emerging scenario has caused phenomenal change in the functioning of civil societies and its relationship with the state and the people. Even as the state is emerging to be hegemonic, and the market is becoming all encompassing civil society still creates the space for creative engagement of people to protect their dignity, autonomy and identity. Through this creative space it not only develops contestations against the conventional hegemony of the state and the market but also creates new body of knowledge, identity, and ontology of collective being in a globalizing world. Significantly a vast body of this knowledge is formed based on every day experiences at the grass roots.
As against this backdrop this session would integrate varieties grass root civil society engagements, their emerging patterns of collective mobilization, social net working and alternatives initiatives especially of the marginalized people.
Climate Justice? Climate Movements and Climate InequalitySession Organizer
James GOODMAN, University of Technology, Australia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Session in English
Anticipating dangerous climate change, a range of social movements have emerged to demand effective climate action and to contest existing climate policy. These movements have become evident amongst the high-income countries that are most responsible for the emission of green house gasses. They have also become evident in low-income countries that are affected by global climate policy or are suffering the immediate impacts of climate change. As such, climate movements reflect the asymmetries of climate change, between those principally responsible, most insulated from the effects of climate change and with greatest capacity to adapt, as against those least responsible, most exposed and least able to adapt. These movements are often defined against climate action that downplays these asymmetries, and have sought to construct their own model centered on `climate justice`. These climate justice conceptions directly address global inequalities, and seek to offer a means of constructing global solidarities to address widening climate inequalities.
Advocates argue such approaches are the precondition for more effective climate policy. What are the parameters for this emergent climate justice orientation? To what extent does climate justice signal the advent of a new kind of social movement? In terms of mobilization and leverage, how effectively has climate justice been pursued and what problems have arisen? What are the prospects for this emergent movement in contesting the new climate inequalities?
Democracy Now: Are New Understandings of Radical Democracy Transforming its Practice?Session Organizer
Francesca POLLETTA, University of California, USA, email@example.com
Session in English
Fifteen years ago the conventional wisdom among scholars and many activists was that radically democratic decision making was a quixotic exercise in idealism, undertaken by committed (and often aging) idealists unconcerned with political effectiveness or economic efficiency. Today, bottom-up decision making seems all the rage. Crowdsourcing and open source, flat management in business, horizontalism in protest politics, collaborative governance in policy studies–these are the buzzwords now and they are all about the virtues of nonhierarchical and participatory decision making. What accounts for this new enthusiasm for radical democracy? Is it warranted? Are champions of the form understanding key terms like equality, consensus, and decision differently than did radical democrats in the 1960s and 70s? And is there any reason to believe that today’s radical democrats are better equipped than their forebears to avoid the old dangers of endless meetings and rule by friendship cliques?
This panel invites papers on how the people who practice radical democracy today – in movements, but also in nonprofits and even for-profits – understand what radical democracy means. Where do those understandings come from? And what are their consequences for groups` ability to act effectively and fairly?
Dilemmas of Unfinished RevolutionsSession Organizer
Piotr SZTOMPKA, Jagiellonian University at Krakow, Poland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Session in English
The last decades of the twentieth century as well as the first decade of the twenty-first century have witnessed an unprecedented number of successful pro-democratic social movements from below resulting in fundamental regime transformations. Some of them, embracing all levels of social reality – political, economic, cultural, mental, everyday life – are rightly referred to as revolutions. One may mention several areas where such epochal events took place: Eastern-Central Europe, the Ukraine, Georgia, the Balkans, Baltic States, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.
In spite of the great differences in the revolutionary goals, strategies and processes, there is one striking similarity. Most revolutions seem incomplete, unfinished, suffering from various unexpected challenges. To name but a few:
- post-revolutionary social and cultural traumas,
- anomie in axiological and normative area,
- asynchrony of developments at various levels of social life,
- often incompetent, dishonest and weakly motivated elites,
- weakness of civil society and apathy of citizens,
- incomplete reconciliation with the past,
- deficit of democracy and resulting ungovernability,
- backlash of populist and nationalist tendencies.
Feminists Movements and Feminists Mobilizations in a Complex WorldSession Organizer
Maríaa MARTINEZ, Universidad del País Vasco, Spain, email@example.com
Session in English
Feminists mobilizations and feminists movements take nowadays an enormous number of forms: from the typical SMO, to a library, a bar or a squatting building. Feminists are also present in political parties, other social movements (LGTB, anti-globalization, environment…), ONGs, and they have played an important role in the 2011 uprisings all over the world. Likewise, feminists actions do not focus merely on the State, but politizes with their actions everyday life. This diversity of feminists mobilization troubles, partly, the study of these collective action with the tools of social movements theories. But at the same time, encourage us to reshape some of our approaches for a better understanding of social movements in a complex world.
This session invites contributions that go beyond the acknowledgment of the diversity of feminists mobilizations and feminist movements – already credited by most feminists movements scholars. By presenting specific feminists mobilizations or mobilization of feminists in other collective actions, the propositions should challenge social movement approaches and/or make an analysis of those feminists mobilizations through an interdisciplinary and/or inter-approach to the analysis. Some of the issues and questions we would like to address are: what can a feminist and/or queer approach do to the analysis of feminists mobilizations nowadays?, how can the intersectionality of discriminations proposal contribute to a better understanding of feminists movements and mobilizations in a complex world?, how the studies on the anti-globalization or the 2011 uprising can inform or be informed by feminists movements analysis in the last years?, etc.
Media and Social Movements in the Age of GlobalizationSession Organizers
Takeshi WADA, University of Tokyo, Japan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Edwin AMENTA, University of California, USA, email@example.com
Patrick HELLER, Brown University, USA, Patrick_Heller@brown.edu
Session in English
The media has always been an important research topic in the literature of contentious politics and social movements. We have learned that favorable media coverage of social movements will likely embolden movement participants, make them less vulnerable to state repression, and thus facilitate diffusion of their ideas and repertoires. However, recent contentious events – such as the protest mobilization in the Arab Spring and a series of social forums around the world – signal the changing nature of the media and public sphere.
The rise of social media – Facebook, twitter, and so on – offers an unprecedented opportunity for those who live under authoritarian conditions both to have access to and disseminate the information without relying on traditional mainstream media, such as television, radio, and newspapers. What will be the theoretical implications of such a change? Does the emergence of new interactive media shift the balance of power in favor of movement actors? Has the traditional media become less relevant to social movements’ success today? Or, do the social media empower movement actors more in the authoritarian countries than those in the democratic ones in which the traditional media maintain credibility?
This session invites papers that examine empirically the relationship between social movements and the media, both traditional and new.
Movements and Civil Society Actors Against Corruption and Organized CrimeSession Organizers
Francesca FORNO, University of Bergamo, Italy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice MATTONI, European University Institute, Italy, email@example.com
P. P. BALAN, Kerala Institute of Local Administration, India, firstname.lastname@example.org
Session in English
Political corruption and organized crime are two crucial issues in contemporary societies. In the field of social and political sciences, literature flourished in the last decades about the mechanisms supporting the development and thriving of political corruption and organized crime. A growing body of studies is also focusing on the anti-corruption and anti-organized crime policies at the level of national and local public administration as well as on the incorporation of these issues in the agendas of political parties, not only during electoral campaigns.
The role of civil society and social movement actors in fighting against corruption and organized crime, on the contrary, remains a heavily understudied topic. This, although citizens` participation in both institutional and non-institutional settings has an important role in fighting corruption as well as organized crime.
This session aims at attracting empirical contribution on grassroots mobilizations against corruption and organized crime in the Global South and the Global North. In particular, we are interested in papers that:
- explore the organizational patterns, forms of protest, mobilization of resources, communication/mediation practices, and/or contentious discourses that civil society and social movement actors develop when mobilize against corruption and organized crime;
- investigate the role of institutional political actors, especially at the national and local level, in creating spaces for citizens` participations as well as participatory mechanisms of accountability, like for instance the Social Audit policies in India
- explain the outcomes of civil society and social movement actors mobilizations against corruption and organized crime, with particular attention to the outcomes at the level of policy making at the local and national level;
- discuss the methodological challenges that the study of such mobilizations, that span from high-risk and high-visibility protests to high-risk and low-visibility actions, imply for scholars approaching them.
Occupy-Type Protests in Comparative PerspectiveSession Organizers
Ruth MILKMAN, City University of New York, USA, email@example.com
Michael SHALEV, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Session in English
Occupy-type protests are an unexpected type of social movement, sharing some characteristics of both new social movements and the more recent anti-globalization movement, but with a distinct focus on domestic socioeconomic issues. Do these protests imply not only an unanticipated historical development, but also a paradigm crisis at the theoretical level? A the empirical level, research so far on contemporary anti-austerity and Occupy movements has focused mainly on Europe and North America, with partially parallel developments in Latin America receiving separate attention, and without questioning why such protests did not occur in other developed regions (Eastern Europe, Australasia, Japan).
This points to the need to move from national case studies to cross-national comparisons, with questions like: what is similar and what is different about the Occupy-type protests and those that took place earlier in the Arab world? Is a single analytical model appropriate or not? Why did anti-inequality protests take root in some affluent societies but not others? Is there value in differentiating between different sub-types of Occupy protests or is there a compelling family resemblance among all of them? We envisage that proposals for this session will be explicitly comparative in their orientation, including case studies informed by a comparative perspective as well as paired case studies and systematic multi-country comparisons.
Outside Agitators, Coalition Partners, and Social Movement SuccessSession Organizer
Sharon BARNARTT, Gallaudet University, USA, email@example.com
Session in English
In the US in the 1960’s, media commentators sometimes attributed social movement activities to ‘outside agitators,’ often Communists. After the Cold War, there was less such attribution, but, in fact, it has happened that there were outside agitators, although they were not usually Communists. One example of outside agitators from American social movements is Fundamentalist Christians who participated in, and escalated, Anti-Abortion protests, sometimes leading to more violence than the originators intended.
Another example was outsiders fomenting the Deaf President Now protest in Washington, DC in 1988. A non-American example was the participation of disabled people in protests which occurred during and proximal to the Arab Spring protests in Egypt. But how common are they? Outsiders can have goals allied with the movement they joined, their goals or means can be a little different, their goals can be so different that they effectively hijack the movement, or they became coalition partners within the original movement.
When do outside agitators become coalition partners, or vice versa? And what role do these outsiders play in the success or failure of a particular action or of the movement as a whole? While we know that movement success is related to mobilization patterns, is this true if those who are mobilized are not part of the same movement? Under what conditions would such participants facilitate movement success, and under what conditions would they not? Ultimately, how do we link those participants to the success of the movement?
Players and Arenas: Strategic Dynamics of Politics and ProtestIntegrative Session: RC21 Regional and Urban Development, RC47 Social Classes and Social Movements and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change
Not open for submission of abstracts.
Pre-Disaster Alternative Politics in Post-Disaster ProtestsSession Organizer
Patricia STEINHOFF, University of Hawaii, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Session in English
Following Japan’s “triple disaster” on March 11, 2011, Japanese society has witnessed some of the largest public protests to emerge in decades. This panel locates the rise in collective protest within the historical trajectory of existing civil society organizations in Japan. It examines the continuation, change, and transformation of these social movements since 3.11 as they have responded to the ramifications of the disaster, and relates them to the broad body of literature on social movements and collective behavior. Organizations within Japanese civil society have a long history of grappling with various social issues that arose from the fracturing of the postwar paradigm premised on economic growth and political stability.
The panel will approach the rise in protest since the 3.11 crisis through the responses of organizations that have been dealing with issues such as nonstandard employment, U.S. military base issues in Okinawa, dispossessed youths who hop from job to job, constitutional revision, and other social issues. The panel will explore the following questions.
- How do these organizations frame the crisis and engage in post-3.11 popular protests?
- What were the processes of connecting their old agenda to a new agenda?
- What do the connections linking pre-existing social movements with new actors, and new movements that have emerged from the 3.11 crisis suggest about the future of Japanese civil society?
- What do these studies contribute to the study of social movements and collective behavior more generally?
Protest, Movement and New Identities in Contemporary IndiaSession Organizers
Dipti Ranjan SAHU, University of Lucknow, India, email@example.com
Rajesh MISRA, University of Lucknow, India, firstname.lastname@example.org
Session in English
Contemporary India has been experiencing many protests and social movements concerned with the issues of casteism, land rights, environment, women’s rights, life style choices ethnicity and human rights. These movements have mobilized the people for developing a socio-political force and challenged the state and society. Further expressions of such movements have broadened the meaning of freedom. A much-needed exercise is an assessment of trends in social movements, past and present and their impact on people across the country. Indian movement scholars have been debating over the concept of social movement and people’s protest and the later being treated as a politically a more effective and potent concept than the social movement. Moreover, these have been termed as new social movements that encapsulate the class movements within its fold and covers all kinds of people’s rights – the movements of Dalits, Tribal people, Peasants and women in Indian situation.
The anti-caste movements i.e. movements of lower castes and untouchable castes (Dalits) have influenced the mainstream politics in India and created a socio-political space for themselves. Environmental movements in India have questioned the development process and industrial growth. Human right groups asserted people’s identity by exposing the state authority. Similarly, women activists raised the issues of structural and cultural oppression. The primary objectives of the session is a critical assessment of people’s protests and movements in India, historical and contemporary and setting an agenda for future. Further it will present a spectrum of macro and micro social movements in India.
Radical Left Wing Movements and Contemporary PoliticsSession Organizer
Magnus WENNERHAG, Södertörn University, Sweden, email@example.com
Christian FROHLICH, Södertörn University, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org
Session in English
Recently, scholars have paid attention to the role of radical leftist parties in Europe; both regarding newly democratized post-communist political systems and more established liberal-democratic regimes. However, the corresponding political role and impact of the radical left’s extra-parliamentarian part – or its social movement base – has hitherto not been sufficiently analyzed. It has often been noted that radical leftist groups have played a prominent role for the broader left and the new social movements of Western democracies since the late 1960s; often appearing as their “radical flank”. The ideas, strategies and forms of protests of these radical groups have many times – directly or indirectly – influenced the agendas and action repertoires of more established organizations, e.g. political parties and trade unions.
This session is interested in the political role of contemporary radical left groups that are rooted in different intellectual traditions of the Worker’s movement such as Anarchism, Autonomism, Communism and Trotskyism. In this session, we wish to focus these groups’ interplay with new social movements, political parties and trade unions, as well as their direct or indirect impact on the general public debate, agenda setting and decision-making (also including the state’s use of counter-measures against these groups).
Especially, we are interested in the role of specific ideas of democracy and political change for radical left groups’ political visions/goals as well as movement-internal practices/repertoires of action. We invite papers concerning the radical left from all parts of the world.
RC48 Business Meeting
Symbols and Social MovementsSession Organizer
Thomas OLESEN, Aarhus University, Denmark, email@example.com
Session in English
This session focuses on what is an often overlooked aspect of social movement action: the use and production of symbols. In some cases social movements create new symbols by mobilizing around unjust events. In other cases social movements draw on already existing symbols in order to generate cultural resonance. A variety of objects can attain symbolic status: Photographs, events, people, art.
The session is open to all papers dealing explicitly with the relationship between social movements and symbols. It particularly welcomes papers that address: the methodological and theoretical challenges of studying symbols in social movements; the visual aspects of symbols; the transnational aspects of symbols; the relationship between violence and symbols; the political effects of symbols.
The Transnationality of Transnational MovementsSession Organizer
Helena FLAM, University of Leipzig, Germany, firstname.lastname@example.org
Session in English
This session calls for papers conceptualizing transnational movements and proposing novel ways of approaching them. While some researchers argue that the established conceptual and methodological apparatus is sufficient to analyze transnational movements, others hold that transnational movements have a complex organizational structure, choose unusual cooperation partners and develop novel cooperation and action patterns. Alone these features call for developing new approaches. Such movements are often composed of `movements from below` linking bottom-up and across borders to other movements; cooperating with the representatives of the state(s), international organizations, and even selected enterprises. They sometimes rely on a few dominant, but at other times many different languages. Their ongoing work is accomplished by core activists, but also movement enterpreneurs, translators, brokers, institutional activists, etc.
Of interest are approaches capable of grasping this diversity, problems it causes and solutions it brings forth, while addressing the question under what conditions (by what sorts of power: strategic, moral, economic, symbolic or network-based) such movements manage to accomplish the goals they set for themselves.
Wither the 2011 Mobilizations: Progressive, Regressive or IrrelevantIntegrative Session: RC07 Futures Research, RC36 Alienation Theory and Research and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change
Not open for submission of abstracts.
Joint SessionsClick on the session title to read its description.
Intellectual South-South and North-South Dialogues from Critical Thinking, Theory and Collective PraxisJoint session of RC07 Futures Research and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change [host committee]