RN25 - Social Movements

RN coordinator:

Eduardo Romanos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain


Katrin Uba, Uppsala University, Sweden


The theme of the conference is differences, inequalities and sociological imagination. These issues are well addressed in the contemporary research on social movements. The research network calls for papers providing theoretical and empirical contributions to the sociology of social movements, particularly on two broad issues: (1) diversities and differences of social movements (e.g., based on gender, social class, age, ethnic background, religion, and sexual orientation.); (2) inequalities and related public policies as a cause and consequence of social movement mobilization. Comparative works that connect theory and empirical analysis, as well as the use of various methods of analysis are particularly encouraged. The proposals could address the specific topics of proposed sessions or the general topic of the call.

  1. General session
  2. Social movements and corporations in the global South

Corporations are powerful players in a world of deregulation and economic globalization. In recent years, there has been a growing scholarly interest in studying interactions between social movements and corporations. So far, this literature has overwhelmingly focused on activists opposing corporations in Western countries. Yet many conflicts between corporations and social movement organizations or civil society groups take place in the ‘global South’. While scholars from a variety of disciplines do study such conflicts, they are rarely linked to the debates raised within the Western-centric study of movement-corporate interactions. In producing countries conditions differ in important ways: conflicts take place further down in the supply chains, the inequality of resources between activist challengers and companies is likely to be higher, political-institutional contexts vary greatly. For this panel we welcome empirical studies that address the following questions: How does corporations’ involvement in social service provision and/or the relationship between the state and corporations affect the relationship between corporations and movements? How are movement-corporate interactions related to the global inequalities of capitalism and reflected in in framing processes? How do the complex relationships between transnational advocacy groups and national/local organizations shape movement-corporate interactions? And how, on the opposite side, does the integration of firms in global supply chains constrain corporate responses? By addressing these issues the panel seeks to cross-fertilize studies on Western and non-Western contexts and contribute to develop the theoretical frameworks used to analyze interactions between movements and corporations.

Chairs: Philip Balsiger (Graduate Center, City University New York) & Maria-Therese Gustaffson, Stockholm University)

  1. Networks, Transactions and Mobilizations in Central Eastern Europe

Civil societies in Central-East European (CEE) countries have become frequent focus of empirical studies. The contrast discovered between the social and political reality of the supposed West and East as well as the progress in social science theory and methods have contributed to the emergence and application of new concepts and theories that made it possible to grasp the multifaceted notion of civil society and collective action, such as transactional activism. Consequently, one of the key theoretical-methodological perspectives has been a relational one. More specifically, the proposed panel aims at further developing the relational and transactional perspective in the study of social movements, political participation and contentious politics in CEE. Network analysis of visible or submerged relations, mechanisms or fields within the civil sphere shall enable us to analyse more effectively different civil societies and their aspects or to compare them across different cultural and political settings.

Chair: Jiri Navratil (Masaryk University)

Discussant: Ondrej Cisar  (Charles University and Institute of Sociology)

  1. Contesting Capitalism and Democracy after Embracing Them?

In the first decade after 1989 the post-communist societies seemed to hurry to become the full-fledged members of the capitalist and democratic world. In fact, public support for capitalism and democracy was higher in post-communist Europe than in the West. Even the first transformation hardships did not seem to change this attitudinal pattern en block. Still, there was a graduate transformation, contributing also to various mobilizations. When the economic recession hit the region at the end of the second decade, the end of patience resulted in at times dramatic events, such as in Hungary, Bulgaria, or Ukraine later on. Although these recent transformations of political activism seem to stay in the shadow of latest waves of mobilizations in the Arab world and the US, a certain portion of post-communist protests reminds us of deep changes not only in collective action, but also general attitudes toward democracy and capitalism.

Chair: Ondrej Cisar  (Charles University and Institute of Sociology)

Discussant: Jiri Navratil (Masaryk University)

  1. The Cultural Consequences of Social Movements

Studies on the cultural consequences of social movements are often neglected by scholars who focus more on outcomes whose processes have an observable origin, peaks and decline in activity, and could be observed over a short range of time (i.e. political, legislative, etc.). Unlike widespread research practices, social movements plan and pursue modifications in symbolic meanings, opinions, and behavioural norms; they aim at creating new symbols, alternative norms, and modify public discourses. Consequently, they aim at achieving cultural changes as well as other kinds of outcomes. These changes could appear as specific and localized modifications in social reality, but more frequently as long-range and indirect effects (even unanticipated). The session welcomes theoretical and empirical contributions about the above social movement processes and outcomes, as well as interpretive proposals regarding unanticipated consequences and perverse effects, looking to the previous classical theoretical frameworks but related to contemporary research.

Chair: Liana M. Daher (University of Catania)

  1. Before and after taking the streets: Social movement continuity and social movement outcomes

Though large protests often surprise observers, they hardly start from scratch. Mostly, they are rooted in previous mobilisations, and they tend to produce outcomes which will have in turn an influence on future mobilisation. This panel focuses on what happens before and after large protests, addressing both the issues of movement continuity and movement outcomes. On the one hand, we aim to shed light on the role of organisations, submerged networks, abeyance structures, free spaces and other actors and mechanisms in ensuring continuity between different waves of protest. On the other hand, we intend to focus on outcomes with respect to the effects on activists’ life-courses and movements’ internal organization, beyond the traditional analysis of the movements' influence on policy-making. We welcome contributions on the two topics and invite in particular attempts to bridge them, aiming to analyse how the perceived success or failure of previous mobilisation affects future activism.

Chairs: Priska Daphi & Lorenzo Zamponi

  1. Joint session with RN 28 'Society and Sports'. Joint session title “Football Fans, Activism and Social Change”

The aim of this session will be to discuss critical fan engagement with contemporary football culture and contemporary societies. In addition to understanding fans to be violent hooligans or passive consumers, the recent research in the sociology of sport has explored football fans in terms of activism, through the lens of new social movement theories. Sport, and in particular football supporters around the globe organize protests, petitions, campaigns, workshops, seminars, congresses, are engaged in political lobbying and provide consultancy to football officials. These expressions of activism are nourished by discontent with recent developments in football cultures and late modern societies and with efforts to change them. The objective of this session will be to examine fan engagement across different geographical, cultural and political contexts, and to understand their impact on football cultures, or contemporary societies more broadly. We welcome submissions that address the topic of fan engagement also in relation to the following issues: commercialization of football and the resistance against the so-called “modern football”, security measures and civil liberties, sport governance and participation of fans on decision-making processes, and anti-discrimination and anti-racism initiatives. The session is intended to be primary focused, although not limited, to football fans.

Chair: Dino Numerato (loughborough University, UK).


Notes for authors

Authors are invited to submit their abstract either to the general session or any specific session. Please submit only to one session. After abstract evaluation, coordinators will have the chance to transfer papers between sessions where applicable.

Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. Each paper session will have the duration of 1.5 hours. Normally sessions will include 4 papers.

Abstracts must be submitted online to the submission platform, see below. Abstracts sent by email cannot be accepted. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed and selected for presentation by the Research Network; the letter of notification will be sent by the conference software system in early April 2015.

Abstract submission deadline (extended):15th February 2015

Abstract submission platform: www.esa12thconference.eu

If you have further questions on the conference, please visit the conference website. For further information on the Research Network, please visit www.europeansociology.org.