Civil society networks, power from below and climate change: from the local to the global
Dr Kepa Artaraz, University of Brighton
This article is based on a case study analysis of a civil society organisation and of its relations with multiple policy actors both within and outside civil society. It studies the Bolivian climate change platform as a means through which to further understand the complex nature of these relations – including with the government – and their possibilities for bringing about policy change. The Bolivian example is particularly relevant to this study because of the alleged closeness of relations between the state and civil society. The article concentrates on the dominant working collaborative methods in civil society that operate as part of global networks and which as a result challenge by their very nature, the world of policy making defined from within the confines of the nation state. The article applies Castells’ (2011) theory of network power to this case study, exploring local and global relations between actors within this network and challenging traditional understandings of power.
Football fans in Europe
Dr Mark Doidge, University of Brighton
The start of the 2015-6 football season across Europe was heavily influenced by the political response to refugees fleeing across the continent. Particularly in Germany and Austria, football fans proudly displayed ‘Refugees Welcome’ banners at games. Elsewhere, fans organised collections for the people fleeing war and destruction. For example, the fan organisation, Football Supporters Europe, continued their successful ‘Second Fan Shirt’ campaign which raised funds from selling football jerseys donated by fans. Whilst these political actions were motivated by the emotional situation, they are not unique. Since the 1990s, football fans in Europe have become increasingly political. From challenging discrimination in the sport, raising money to save their club, or challenging UEFA with a #respectfans campaign, fans draw on their feelings of love and belonging for their football club to engage in politics within the sport.This paper argues that football fans constitute a significant social movement across Europe. Football fans engage in a range of emotions and this affects their involvement in their clubs. Many fans draw on these feelings of joy, anger or indignation to challenge regulations, discrimination or police. Drawing on the work of Collins (2001; 2004), Katz (1999), and Jasper (2001; 2004), this paper reinforces the emotional aspect of social movements and fandom. It argues that the emotional aspect of football fandom is a significant causal factor to their engagement in politics and the shared ritual of football is facilitating the sharing of ideas and strategies across Europe.
Why social movement studies should misbehave
Dr Gemma Edwards, University of Manchester
Social Movement Studies has a long tradition of borrowing concepts from other fields; prime among them the field of ‘organisational behaviour’, which inspired the Resource Mobilisation perspective (Zald, 2005). Although this has led to a better understanding of the organisational dynamics of social movements, it has also reinforced an acknowledged bias in the field towards looking at organised protest activity (Piven and Cloward 1977; Scott 1985, 1990; Jasper 1997). The focus on organisations is useful, but it has enabled a blindspot to remain largely unattended regarding non-organised forms of protest: those efforts at social change that take place outside of social movement organisations (SMOs), embedded in individual and collective forms of ‘non-compliance’. This paper argues that in order to re-focus attention on this blindspot, Social Movement Studies should again turn to organisational behaviour, and borrow another of its concepts: ‘misbehaviour’ (Ackroyd and Thompson, 1999). Originally conceived of as a way to theorise everyday worker resistance outside of trade union organisations (such as sabotage, jokes, absenteeism), the concept of ‘misbehaviour’ shifts our attention to individual acts of non-compliance and how these relate to collective efforts at social change. Misbehaviour has overlaps with Foucault’s conception of resistance and literature around ‘everyday resistance’, but this paper will suggest ways in which the theory of Erving Goffman might render the concept applicable to the study of protest.
Academic research on social movements: Trends and challenges
Dr Graeme Hayes, Aston University
In this paper, I set out an overview of the development of the field of social movement research in the UK since the late 1950s, identifying its key features. Still largely absent from the major British academic associations of sociology and political science, British social movement scholarship has developed in a way which is quite distinct from both European and North American traditions, privileging qualitative enquiry 'from below', rooted in theoretical and disciplinary diversity, and predominantly focusing on concerns with context, class and agency, and a concomitant commitment to effecting social change. In the last twenty years, this multi-disciplinary tradition of concern with movement praxis has developed in new directions: to European and comparative frameworks, greater theoretical connection with social theory, and emergent research interest in social psychology; whilst social movement research has developed its own institutions (the annual Alternative Futures and Popular Protest conference, the Social Movement Studies specialist journal). I end by discussing recent developments in the field, as seen through submissions to Social Movement Studies in particular.
Anti-identity and negativity in social movement research: lessons from Europe and Latin America
Dr Raphael Schlembach, University of Brighton
In this paper I want to revisit the relevance of the Frankfurt School for the purposes of understanding protests and social movements, specifically looking at Adorno’s concepts of anti-identity and negativity. While the importance of collective identity has been emphasised frequently in the social movement’s literature, there are also protest groups and networks that explicitly struggle against identity. I will briefly look at how recent research has taken up some elements of Adorno’s critical theory to understand contemporary mobilisations in Europe and Latin America.
Macro-level conceptualisation of social movements
Dr Neil Stammers, University of Sussex
In the light of calls to build a mass movement to sustain and support the new leadership of the Labour Party and drawing from my chapter in ‘The Identity Dilemma’, my brief presentation will consider whether a simple but macro-level conceptualisation of social movements can help us formulate the questions necessary to assess this call. It will argue that we need to find ways of effectively combining synchronic and diachronic forms of analysis.