28 - 31 August 2013
Torino, Italy

RN25 – Social Movements

Nicole Doerr ndoerr@mtholyoke.edu Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, University of California Irvine
Alice Mattoni alm232@pitt.edu
Marianne van der Steeg marianne.vandesteeg@fu-berlin.de

The Conference theme Crisis, Critique and Change addresses what many of you may experience right now: that people in Europe live in interesting times. The Social Movements Research Network invites papers contributing to the sociology of social movements and empirical research on mobilisation addressing the conference theme: crisis, critique and change. Comparative work that connects theory and empirical analysis is particularly encouraged.


  • a01RN25 Social Movements and Space (open)
    Grzegorz Piotrowski gregpiotrowski@gmail.com, Chair
  • b01RN25 Movements, Digitalization, and Different Forms of Media
    Alice Mattoni alice.mattoni@eui.eu, EUI, Chair
  • c01RN25 Beyond Western Europe: A Comparative Perspective on Movements
    Sabrina Zajak, sabrina.zajak@staff.hu-berlin.de <sabrina.zajak@staff.hu-berlin.de> Humboldt University, Chair
  • 02RN25 Mobilizing Knowledge. Conflicts and Struggles in the Sectors of Immaterial Production
    Chair: Caterina Peroni & Alice Mattoni

    In the recent decades the immaterial sectors of production became a relevant site of conflicts and struggles both in the Global North and in the Global South. Workers engaged in the production of knowledge and culture in its varied declinations often mobilized in recent years in order to improve their working conditions and fight against economic cuts due to the ongoing economic crisis. But also to advance the recognition of knowledge and culture as a common good to be managed collectively and outside the logic of private and public regulations. Publishing houses, cinema productions, theatrical companies, public universities are just some of the spaces in which conflicts emerged in recent years, often at the local level of the urban environments. Frequently involving precarious workers, conflicts and struggles in the sectors of immaterial productions increasingly involve other social and economic categories that are positioned at the fluid margins of the labour markets: trainees, apprentices, free lances, and temporary workers amongst other. This panel aims at developing a critical discussion on conflicts and struggles in the sectors of immaterial production at the local, regional, national and transnational level. We encourage the submissions of papers grounded in empirical investigations that explore some of the following critical areas, when it comes to mobilizations involving knowledge and cultural workers: the meanings and imageries related to ‘work’ and ‘labour’ elaborated in the context of struggles; the use of specialized knowledge and skills acquired as knowledge and cultural workers to produce struggles; the elaboration of alternative imageries and the subversion of common meanings associated to some of the key terms in the sectors of immaterial productions – like for instance ‘meritocracy’, ‘autonomy’, ‘freedom’ ,’cooperation’, ‘creativity’ – and, finally, the main features that characterize the struggles in the sectors of immaterial production, including discussions related to new forms of contention, their limitations and potentialities. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are welcome.

  • b02RN25 Movements and Gender
    Nicole Doerr ndoerr@mtholyoke.edu Mount Holyoke, chair
  • a03RN25 Typologies of Political Violence
    Chairs: Lorenzo Bosi & Niall O’Dochartaigh,”Bosi, Lorenzo” <lorenzo.bosi@eui.eu>,

    Political violence broadly defined, including guerrilla warfare, insurgency, terrorism, rebellion, revolution, rioting and civil war, can be distinguished in several ways, by the nature of the objectives; by the targets of attacks, by the repertoire of actions; by the organizational structure of groups. This panel will develop comparisons across different types of armed actors, underlining similarities and identifying differences. It aims to query the robustness of existing typologies and to contribute to the development of new and more robust typologies of political violence.

    For these reasons we welcome papers that address three main issues: (1) conceptual and theoretical thinking about political violence, including refining existing definitions and typologies; (2) methodological reflections about how to deal with the subject matter and how to avoid the obstacles that have hindered previous research, from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective; (3) empirical comparative studies encompassing different types of conflicts and/or countries. We welcome submissions that deal with actor groups such as social and protest movements, terrorist groups, insurgencies and other non-state armed formations, and radicalizing state institutions.

  • b03RN25 A Global Dissenting Youth? Session One: Student Movements and Youth Activism, anti-Austerity and anti-Corporate Mobilisations
    Lorenzo Zamponi, “Lorenzo Zamponi” <lorenzo.zamponi@eui.eu>, EUI, Chair
  • a04RN25 Alter-IGOs: Encounters between International Organizations and Oppositional Movements
    Chair: Thorsten Thiel

    The Alter-Globalization Movement and its successors have radically questioned the legitimacy of international institutions and proposed alternative ways to organize world politics. International organizations have responded diversely to this challenge. Some have tried to redesign their political processes, others have sought to evade the protesters or have attempted to rebrand their activities. This panel will analyze how interaction between IOs and social movements has changed in recent decades as well as the effects of recent crises and critiques from social movements. While existing research has often focussed on attempts to include civil society actors into decision-making processes, this panel has a broader perspective. We welcome papers investigating the interaction between social movements and international political institutions, including such matters as attempts by IOs to avoid inclusion or to depoliticize decisions; the critique, aims and potential of social movements with regard to international political institutions; what IOs do and why; how to account for the variety of their responses; whether and how these responses are coordinated and affected by the actions of other institutions; and what meta-trends are identifiable in the treatment of social movements. Contributions combining empirical research with theoretical and normative considerations are particularly welcome.

  • b04RN25 Middle Class and Youth Protests: Differentiated Reactions to a Global Crisis?
    Nicole Doerr, ndoerr@mtholyoke.edu Nicole Doerr Mount Holyoke, chair
  • a05RN25 Crisis, Critique and Democracy in Social Movements
    Nicole Doerr, ndoerr@mtholyoke.edu, Mount Holyoke College, Chair

    This session explores how cultures of organizational decision-making and knowledge production in institutions are challenged and shaped by democracy in social movements. The session also invites work that addresses critical work on democracy and democratic crises within social movemetn groups connecting theory with empirical analysis.

  • b05RN25 Crisis, Critique and Civil Society
  • a06RN25 Social Movements and Emotion Session One
    Helena Flam, Chair, flam@rz.uni-lepzig.de University of Leipzig

    This session will be devoted to theorizing and analyzing social movements whose emotions or emotional repertoire complex goes beyond the “shame, pride and anger”-set. Contrasts between the emotion(s) attached to the self-image and the emotion(s) attached to the public image of a movement are also of interest.

  • b06RN25 Austerity Protests in Comparison
    Nicole Doerr ndoerr@mtholyoke.edu Mount Holyoke, chair
  • 07RN25 A Global Dissenting Youth? Session Two: Student Movements and Youth Activism, anti-Austerity and anti-Corporate Mobilisations
    Lorenzo Zamponi & Joseba Fernández González, Chairs. Lorenzo Zamponi, “Lorenzo Zamponi” <lorenzo.zamponi@eui.eu>, EUI,

    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.

  • 08RN25 Social Movements and Climate Change

    Global environmental issues like global warming, the loss of biodiversity, food security are at the centre of political and public debates and mobilization. This session is devoted to explore local, transnational and multi-level forms of activism and framing on these issues. Both case studies and comparative work are welcome.

  • 09RN25 Integrating Perspectives on Radicalization
    Chairs: Christopher Daase,Goethe Universitaet Frankfurt,daase@hsfk.de, & Nicole Deitelhoff, Goethe Universitaet Frankfurt

    Despite major advances in the last decade in social movement and terrorism research, we still know little about the pathways of radicalisation and de-radicalisation. While psychologists have mainly focused on individual-level factors, such as social milieus, sociologists have analysed group-level aspects, such as movement dynamics. Political scientists have attended principally to state and interstate-level factors, such as the vulnerability of particular political institutions and political opportunity structures in general. These different perspectives have generated valuable insights into different levels of radicalization, from the micro- through the meso- and to the macro-level. What is missing, however, is a systematic exploration of the linkages between micro-, meso- and macro-level factors in order to understand the processes of radicalisation. The panel addresses this shortcoming by inviting papers that tackle different processes of radicalization in social movements that explicitly combine these different perspectives.

Joint Sessions

  • 11JS25Joint Session Social Movements and Emotion

    Joint session with RN11 – Sociology of emotions

    Chairs: Marianne van der Steeg & Jochen Kleres

    Since about a decade scholars investigating various social movements have increasingly paid attention to emotions. This session calls for papers highlighting emotions – in theorizing or empirical research. Papers are welcome, for example, on the role emotions (i) in constituting the identities of different types of activists and/or movements; (ii) in short-term protest as well as in initiating, sustaining and ending social movements; (iii) among by-standers and authorities regarding/engaging with the protest/movement; (iv) in protest/movement visuals and discourses; (v) in protest/movement rituals, individual narratives and collective mythmaking, etc. etc.

Thank you very much to all participants for making esa torino an outstanding conference.