LAEMOS conference 2014:
Track: Transnational and Translocal Networks of Protest, Resistance and Change

Subtheme 10 : Revisiting and Deepening the Politics of Social Movements

Subtheme Conveners:
Bobby Banerjee (Cass Business School, City University, London, UK), Hèla Yousfi
(University Paris Dauphine, France), Saulo Dubard Barbosa (EMLYON Business
School, France)

'En suma no estamos proponiendo una revolución ortodoxa, sino algo mucho más difícil: una revolución que haga posible la revolución'. ('To sum up, we are not proposing an orthodox revolution, but something much more difficult: a revolution that will make the revolution possible').

Subcomandente Marcos, of the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico used these words to describe the aims of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation). The uprising at Chiapas began on January 1, 1994 when 3000 armed 'insurgents', mainly indigenous peoples from the region, seized several towns in the Chiapas district of southern Mexico to protest against the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Although the armed rebellion was quickly and violently repressed by the Mexican government, the Zapatistas continued their struggle using non-violent means and over the next few years established a wide network of local, national and international solidarity groups that is still active today.

In more recent times we have seen an explosion of protest movements throughout the world: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Turkey and Bahrain. Not to mention the various Occupy movements across Europe and the United States. Latin America of course has a long history of protest movements ranging from overthrowing military dictatorships to struggles for indigenous land rights, democratic rights, water and resource rights, landless workers rights, combating 'austerity measures' and resistance movements against neoliberalism and corporate capitalism.

In this subtheme we are seeking papers that address transnational and translocal resistance movements from all over the world. Perhaps what we are witnessing is a major paradigmatic shift that calls for new insights in both theory and practice.
We are seeking papers that will push the theoretical and empirical boundaries of scholarship on protest movements and enable us to envision new horizons of dissent, change and the organization of protest movements. Ultimately, the diverse range of protest movements about land rights, gender equity, resource rights, democratic rights, poverty, and inequalities, are about social justice.

Papers can explore, but are not restricted to, the following themes:

*    The politics of the local and the global in protest movements. Most extant work on social movements has focused on national and transnational political movements while neglecting locally based grassroots movements. How do protest movements enable agency at the local grass roots level instead of focusing on high profile national and transnational events? What are the enabling and inhibiting factors that influence the capacity of individuals and communities to act?

*    The politics of collective modes of activism. Collective modes of activism are also sites of power and domination in spaces of collective action. Particular configurations of power relationships between market, state and civil society actors and institutions also influence strategies of resistance leading to the emergence of new forms of power and collective action. How are social movements organized? How do social movements engage with existing institutional arrangements to promote their cause? What new forms of organization emerge from collective action? What are the organizational challenges faced by the emergent protests to achieve their goals?

*    The politics of civil society and representation. Local struggles often involve civil society actors and transnational networks that provide national and international visibility. However, there are concerns about how local issues are represented and appropriated by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In particular, several Middle Eastern and African scholars have raised concerns about representations of the so-called Arab spring in the western media. Who are the 'people' in people movements? What are the inclusions and exclusions that arise in protest movements? What are the contestations around participation in particular movements? How are inclusions and exclusions negotiated?

*    The politics of the state. While it has become fashionable in some sections of the Western academy to mourn the retreat of the state in a global neoliberal regime, the state in actuality is a key building block of globalization. In the 'emerging economies' of the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) state repression against protest movements and livelihood struggles has increased dramatically. What role do states play in protest movements? What are the state apparatuses of repression and violence that are deployed against social movements? How do protest movements respond to state violence?

*    The politics of the market. Many protest movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America are directed against corporations particularly in the extractive industries. Corporations in these regions engage in counter mobilization practices often deploying corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to ensure access to resources and secure assets. How do corporations and their industry associations respond to anti-corporate movements? What 'stakeholder engagement' strategies do corporations deploy? What role do state agencies and NGOs play in anti-corporate movements?

*    The politics of neocolonialism and postcolonialism. Many ongoing protest movements are occurring in former colonies. Colonial modes of development continue to operate in these regions whose populations often suffer the brunt of development. Even the so-called Arab spring protests have been selectively covered by the western media, not surprisingly given that all the regimes that have been overthrown were western backed. What are the continuing colonial modes of control in regions of protest? How do protest movements resist them? What are the structures and processes of internal colonialism in the former colonies?

*    The politics of gender. Protest movements tend to open up social and political spaces for women, even in more socially conservative regions of the world where demands of gender equity are being made in addition to calls for political reform, transparency, and human rights. However, political representation for women continues to be marginal and as we have seen in the case of the Egyptian revolution, post-revolution political power continues to remain in male dominated institutions like the military. Using a gendered lens to study protest movements enables us to see how gendered subjects are discursively constructed and examine the material effects of the discourse. In what ways are protest movements gendered, depending on the context in which these movements emerge? What is the nature of gender-based demands and how are they articulated in protest movements? What is the role of the post-revolutionary state in reproducing or challenging prevailing gender regimes?

*    The politics of sustainability. Divergent, often incommensurable views about nature and the relationship between people and the land are the root of the many ongoing conflicts in Latin America between Indigenous communities battling their own governments as well as transnational mining and oil corporations. How do differing views about the value of nature inform the direction of protest movements? How do protest movements negotiate the tensions between calls for development as a strategy to reduce poverty and the negative ecological and social effects of developmental projects? What economic activities, other than resource extraction, can lead to sustainable livelihoods?

We invite both theoretical and empirical contributions that address some of the issues raised above and contribute to the study and practice of protest, resistance, and change through transnational and translocal networks. We welcome papers that adopt an interdisciplinary perspective drawing from related fields like political science, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, and international relations apart from management and organization studies. We are particularly interested in submissions from individual activists and community organizations as well as state and international agencies.

We will also accept submissions in Arabic, French, Portuguese, Bengali, Hindi and Spanish. Please contact the convenors if you wish to submit your paper in another language.

LAEMOS 2014<>
Abstract submission (1000 words) 15 November, 2013 Notification of acceptance15 December, 2013 Submission of full paper (6000 words)5 March, 2014

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