Call for contributions: International Conference on Cross-movement Mobilization, April 5-7, 2017, Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany)
In joint cooperation between the Institute for Social Movements (ISB), Bochum, the Institute for Protest and Social Movement Research (IPB), Berlin, and the ISA’s Research Committee on Social Classes and Social Movements (RC47).
The international conference aims to bring together experts and early-career scientists to promote a research area that is highly relevant for social movement studies and for society as a whole, and which has not received sufficient attention in current scholarship: cross-movement mobilization.
This concept describes the joint mobilization and formation of alliances across different social movements and organizations with different constituencies In moving away from single movement approaches literature has begun to progressively shift its interest to the interactions that social movements have between each other and with other actors. Studies have explored examples of this on a wide range and scale, starting from cooperation at the local level, such as urban resistance in cities and communities, to cooperation on issues such as climate change, energy transition, alternative economy, and the relation between the global South and the global North. At the same time, cross-movement alliances cannot be taken for granted, as the different groups and actors are separated by different ideological positions, a diverse history and development, and are also partially subject to competitive relations. How such cleavages and differences are overcome is a key question with which the conference will deal.
The international conference aims to provide a platform to present and discuss research on the conditions under which movement alliances evolve, on the success and failure of cross-movement mobilizations at different levels – from local to global – as well as on various topics such as ecology, labor, economy, and urbanization. The conference will bring together fields of research in sociology, political sciences, and history. Particular prominence will be given to social movement studies, industrial relations, international relations, political economy, and social history, in order to sharpen our understanding of internal modes of cooperation, tensions, synergies, and effects of interaction in cross-movement mobilization.
Key questions which are going to be discussed during the international conference:
Conditions and processes of cross-movement mobilizations and their comparison:
- Which subject areas and environmental conditions make cross-movement mobilization more likely?
- Are there social movements that are particularly resistant to cross-movement mobilization?
- How do progressive cross-movement activities distance themselves from right-wing movements?
- When and under which conditions do cross-movement campaigns or protest activities become stable networks?
Internal cleavages and clashes:
- Which issues, ideological differences, and power struggles can be observed in cross-movement mobilization?
- Is cross-movement mobilization weakening the internal cohesion of movements?
- How do they achieve synergy?
- Are there certain environmental conditions or strategic contradictions that hinder synergetic effects?
- Is cross-movement mobilization more likely on the local or global level?
- Is cross-movement action especially effective in mobilizing several levels at the same time?
- What kind of historical precursors can be found for cross-movement mobilization?
- What are their differences when compared to present forms?
Meta- theoretical reflection:
- Does cross-movement mobilization eventually result in a singular social movement?
- What is the relationship between the concept of cross-movement mobilization and other, potentially related concepts such as movement spill-over, frame bridging, movement alliances, etc.?
- To what extend does the idea of cross-movement mobilization represent a conceptual overstretch?
Specifically, participants can target their interest at the following panels:
I. Joint Actions against the Radical Right: Labor Movement’s Contemporary Cross-Movement Mobilization
Session organizers: Jenny Jansson & Katrin Uba, (Department of Government, Uppsala University, Sweden)
There has been a recent increase in cross-movement mobilization against radical right wing groups in Europe and beyond. One of the movements which have become increasingly active is the labor movement, and this panel is interested in how labor movements in different countries mobilize, cooperate and build alliances with other movements in order to fight the growth of radical right activism. Which kinds of strategies are used in such cross-movement mobilizations? Which kinds of movements are the labor movement cooperating with? What are the political and movement related consequences of these kinds of mobilizations? How does the counter-mobilization of the radical right influence the sustainability of such cross-movement cooperation? The panel welcomes empirical and theoretical contributions, comparative or single country studies and encourages the application of wide set of methodological tools.
II. Engaging Difference – Lessons from Cross-Movement Mobilizations in Latin America
Session organizers: Johanna Leinius (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/ipb), Eva Kalny (University of Hannover) & Marco Antonio Teixeira (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
In the last decades, social mobilization in Latin America has been transformed as with the increasing politicization of diversity: from the Zapatista uprising to the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encounters and the World Social Forum, building cross-movement alliances has been at the forefront of mobilization strategies and internal reflections for social movements in Latin America. Recognizing the knowledge and valuing the experiences of marginalized communities has been a central concern not only for decolonial approaches in academia, but also for indigenous, afro-Latin, women’s, and peasant movements. Popular education approaches and feminist pedagogies have needed to rethink the revolutionary subject their approaches are directed at and are continuously reformed to fit contemporary Latin American realities. This panel focuses on movement experiences with cross-movement mobilization in Latin America. Its particular focus are the experiences, knowledges, and practices of emancipatory social movements striving to challenge Latin American coloniality. The panel asks: How does cross-movement mobilization play out in Latin America? What role do popular education methodologies and feminist approaches play in the alliance-building approaches between heterogeneous social movements? How are actors from the global North implicated in these processes?
III. Panel: Cross-Movement Mobilization in Conflicts over Large-Scale Mining
Session organizers: Bettina Engels & Melanie Müller (Freie Universität Berlin)
Industrial mining is currently one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy, particularly in the Global South. The current mining boom is, however, accompanied by numerous conflicts: over labour relations, over territorial control and access to water and land resources, over the effects on local livelihoods, on gender relations and ecological systems, and over the distribution of profits and tax revenues. Hence, in many cases, mining projects are highly contested and trigger protests on the local, national, and transnational scale. Mobilization against the expansion of industrial mining occur in all world regions. Increasingly, resistance is also organized in transnational and transregional ways.
IV. Cross-Movement Mobilisation in Conflicts over Migration and Asylum
Session organizers: Priska Daphi (University of Frankfurt), Lorenzo Zamponi, (Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence) & Leslie Gauditz (University of Bremen)
In the last few years, an increasing number of migrants sought asylum in Europe. This development triggered a series of events and processes. Among them, various episodes of collective action took place in different countries: grassroots actions and initiatives in solidarity with refugees, self-organised protests led by refugees at the borders or in camps, transnational campaigns demanding changes in European policies, as well as radical right and nationalist protests against the presence of refugees in some communities.
This panel explores the construction of coalitions between different actors involved in such issues and actions. Which alliances are established both inside and outside social movements? Which actors are most likely to participate and to seek cross-movement cooperation? How do such coalitions affect the dynamic of mobilisation as well as the outcome? We intend to contribute in answering these questions through the analyses of cross-movement mobilisation between all sorts of actors including left-wing and right-wing movements and parties, civic actors, volunteers’ associations, trade unions, NGOs, and religious organisations.
V. Protest waves or cross-movement mobilizations? How do Movements Influence other Movement’ Mobilizations?
Session organizer: Sebastian Haunss (Universität Bremen) & Jochen Roose (Universität Wrocław)
Social movements interact in various ways. They can develop in direct response to other movements, as counter-movements, or as competing movements in the same issue area – the idea of movement sectors and movement industries draws on this notion. Movements in one country can also influence the development of movements in other countries – leading to weak or strong forms of transnationalization of protest. They can also replace earlier movements as successors after an earlier movement has de facto dissolved – as expressed in the concept of separate waves of one movement. And they can also interact more indirectly, building on an increased willingness to protest created by other movements – an idea that lies behind the more general notion of protest waves. In this panel we invite empirical studies and theoretical papers that explicitly address these forms of interaction between different movements. A special focus shall be placed on interactions between movements addressing different issues.
VI. Alliances as Co-Optation. Social Movements between Professionalisation and Depolitizisation
Session organizer: Eva Gerharz (Ruhr-University Bochum) & Shelley Feldman (Cornell University)
The literature suggests that If social movement actors expect to benefit from cooperation with international partners ,they need to present themselves as professional actors and/or enter into alliances with more established and more powerful movement actors. Such co-optations go along with the necessity to make concessions when it comes to the institutionalisation of certain procedures and this entails the danger of de-politization. This panel invites papers which investigate such processes from an empirical perspective, with a focus on social movements and their coalitions across the North/South divide, as well as the wider societal ramifications of this phenomenon.
VII. The Next Polanyian Moment? Mobilization in Times of Global Capitalism
Session organizer: Saskia Freye (Ruhr University Bochum) & Sascha Münnich (University of Göttingen)
This panel aims to explore the analytical power and boundaries of Polanyi’s concept of the countermovement in the era of a globalized capitalism. Intensification of economic integration on a global scale and the increasing financialization and marketization of business, politics, and the everyday life has undermined the post-war settlement in many (Western) countries, producing what might be called the next Polanyian moment. These developments advance forcefully and (re-)expose ever more parts of society to the market, thereby undermining its social, environmental, and economic preconditions. By re-integrating economy and society, Polanyi’s concept is a powerful tool to analyze social movements and political re-regulation on different levels (from local to cross-national) and in different forms (reactionary, nationalistic, progressive), inventory and analytical boundaries, systematization of counter-movements and historic advancement, successes and reactions.
VIII. Transnational Cross-Movement alliances, Coalitional Power and the New Global Politics of Labor
Session organizer: Sabrina Zajak (Ruhr-University Bochum) & Marissa Brookes (University of California, Riverside)
The intensification of global economic integration, the consolidation of power in multinational enterprises, and the increase in the financialization and marketization of politics and of everyday life put severe pressure on labor worldwide and undermine the social, environmental, and economic preconditions of their societies. One assumption is that when social movements and trade unions join forces they are able to challenge the current practices of production, organization, and consumption. This panel explores the most promising opportunities but also obstacles hindering cross movement alliance building between “old” and new” social movements. It looks for papers exploring attempts to develop new sources of cooperation, mechanisms of group interest alignment, and outcomes of transnational cross-movement alliances. In what ways is coalitional power build built?? Under which conditions does it lead to synergies and new ways to leverage or build transnational institutions to improve working conditions and organize workers?
IX. Cross-Movement Convergences – the Urban as Opportunity or Limitation?
Session organizer: Margit Mayer (FU-Berlin) & David Scheller (FH Potsdam)
The city and the urban life have become a nodal point for various protests in recent years. The right to the city, coined by Henri Lefebvre, and its revival in the late 2000s has become a common framework for critical urban scholars and also for a number of urban protest movements. This supports and increasing collaboration of heterogeneous actors in fragmented protests fields. The theoretical debate concerning urban social movements oscillates between potential access points for transformative critics of capitalistic hegemony and an existing limitations for translocal mobilizations. This panel aims to discuss the possibilities and limitations of the urban nexus as a reference point for social movements. We would like to consider both theoretical and empirical findings in the current discourse about cross-movement convergences between, for example, housing movements, refugee movements and environmental movements.
X. Cross-Movement Mobilisation against TTIP
Session organizer: Giulia Gortanutti (Ruhr-University Bochum), Jan Orbie (Universiteit Ghent) & Aukje van Loon (Ruhr-University Bochum)
Public interest in Free Trade Agreements has traditionally been low, mainly due to the technical difficulties of the subject. This changed in June 2013, with the start of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. This has created a unique point of convergence for different social movements and trade unions. In the context of the unopposed neoliberal theories guiding trade regulation policies, the role of transnational alliances capable of collective action seems one of the only counterforces. This panel explores transnational cooperation between different civil society actors against TTIP. How is the mobilisation coordinated? Which networks, coalitions, and alliances are involved in the protest? How does cross-movement mobilisation include actors which are not traditionally involved in such actions, such as Small and Medium Enterprises? Is the mobilisation against TTIP a (more or less) cohesive European phenomenon, or the sum of different national experiences? How are different strategy aims mediated within the many organisations participating in the mobilisation?
XI. Moving Boundaries – Building Bridges. The Remaking of the Environmental Movement?
Session organizer: Jana Bosse (Freie Universität Berlin), Romina Ranke (Leibniz Universität Hannover) & Sebastian Krätzig (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
Since the last years, we witness a new wave of network building within environmental movements. Environmental movements not only establish new and stronger ties on different levels – local, regional, national and transnational – but also across issues. They increasingly build bridges to other movements and emphasize the interrelationship of policy fields like climate change, environmental protection, economy, agriculture and health. Additionally, the environmental frame is, for instance, frequently used in strategic manner by local interests groups. These developments give reason for a number of questions: How and why does cross-movement mobilization and network building occur? For instance, is cross-movement mobilization more likely on the local or global level? What are motivations and strategies of the involved actors and how effective are these strategies in different circumstances? What challenges are involved in these shifting levels and issues? And finally, facing a growing diversification and complexity, how can we define the core characteristics of environmental and climate movements?
XII. The global justice movement today: what lessons learned?
Session organizer: Johanna Lauber (Ruhr-University Bochum) & Geoffrey Pleyers (Université de Louvain, UCL)
The Global Justice Movement has not only gained attention due to the transnational orientation but also due to the cooperation between New Social Movements and trade unions. If we look at the Social Forums, fostering exchange of ideas, bridging national divides, and cooperation has been an explicit aim of the movement. However, it seems like the Global Justice Movement has had its peaks with the Protests against WTO in Seattle 1999 and the first Social Forums in the beginning of 2000. Some evaluate the GJM as great success without which current mobilization e.g. against austerity politics or trade agreements would not have been possible. Others argue that in particular social forums were a waste of time, energy and resources. For this panel we want to ask: What is left of the cooperation established in the forums and protests of the Global Justice Movement? What are long term consequences and continuities? Did it enable new coalitions or did it increase doubts about the actual prospects and possibilities fro cross-movement cooperation? The panel seeks to contribute to the debate on cross-movement-cooperation taking into account the multiplicity of long-term effects on movement building, and individual and organizational development.
XIII. Joint actions against Austerity politics: discourse and strategies in the anti-austerity mobilization
Session organizer: Ana-Maria Nikolas (Ruhr-University Bochum), Maria Kousis (University of Crete) & Rubén Díez García (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
The anti- austerity protests that spread around Europe in the wake of the EU – debts crises and neoliberal austerity politics, was expressed in various way in different countries both directly affected by the measurements or not. Ranging from local initiatives and national strikes up to transnational events like the European week of action against austerity, the struggles against neoliberal crises management reveals many different strategies and became manifested in different movements like the Indignados and Euromarches, or in solidarity initiatives and networks but also institutionalised in the elective success of political parties like Syriza and Podemos. This panel focuses on the different levels, countries and strategies, this struggle is taking place and takes also a look on the struggle over discourse when it comes to austerity. The panel asks: Which barriers, ideological differences, and power struggles have to be overcome in cross-movement mobilization against austerity? How do struggles in different countries and on different levels vary? How do they achieve synergy and collaborations across movements? What does the emergence of anti-austerity movements mean in terms of Civil Society Europeanization and democratic deepening of the EU? How do these protests connect with the current wave of global mobilization?
XIV. Mediated Collaborations
Session organizer: Simon Teune (TU-Berlin) & Armin Scholl (University Münster)
Collaborations of social movements are intrinsically linked to the use of media. First, media can be seen as arenas of public exchange. Media sympathetic to movements as well as activist media help bridging different realities in movements. Second, media are part and parcel of organizing processes. Email-Lists and social media, for instance, are used to connect heterogeneous activists and to uphold contacts despite different priorities and agendas in everyday politics. While it is obvious that social movement collaboration relies on the mediated exchange of information and arguments, mediated discourse in a wider public sphere adds another layer that might also hamper collaboration. When addressing a wider public, activists follow logics different from those in internal debates. Their public statements tend to bring out and overemphasize differences. The panel invites contributions in this understudied field that either look into the role of specific media outlets or media technologies in cross-movement mobilization or present generalizing, comparative or theory-based approaches.
XV. From local to global and back. Energy initiatives and protests
Session organizer: Jana Bosse (Freie Universität Berlin), Romina Ranke (Leibniz Universität Hannover) & Sebastian Krätzig (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
Throughout Germany, local initiatives have mushroomed since Angela Merkel announced the Energiewende and a nationwide project of restructuring the German energy system has begun. Some have sought to use the new opportunities by becoming their own renewable energy producers and by investing into community energy projects. Others have established protest campaigns against wind parks, biogas plants and new power lines. Although many of these initiatives are rooted in local contexts, they have established networks to other campaigns to gain leverage. Remarkably, we see those examples of network building happening on very different levels (regional, national and even EU-wide) and towards a variety of actors from grassroots movements, NGOs to political parties and corporations. At the same time, many climate activists have re-oriented their struggles from the international to the national and local level. They repeatedly organize large protests against coal mining and fracking and build diverse coalitions. These new developments of local protests, networking and scale-shifting lead us to raise a number of questions: How and why do local protest initiatives start to build networks? How do they choose their allies? How might network building change local initiatives and grassroots movements? And what triggers scale-shifting processes from the global and transnational level to national and local activism?
XVI. Effects of Cross-Movement Mobilization on Protest Repertoires
Session organizers: Prof. Dr. Nicole Deitelhoff, Dr. Priska Daphi & Felix Anderl (all: University of Frankfurt)
While repertoires are a common concept in social movement studies, little is known about how changes in repertoires occur. Cross-movement mobilization can be expected to have a considerable impact on this as interactions with allies and rivals have been found to crucially affect social movements’ repertoires. This panel aims to bring together insights about the effects of cross-movement mobilization on tactical choices and changes. It explores how cooperation between different movements as well as between movements and other political actors influences protest repertoires. In how far do such interactions affect tactical choices? Does this effect differ depending on the kind of group movements cooperate with? What happens when a former opponent becomes an ally – as, for example, in the case of the global feminist movement cooperating with international organizations in the 1990s? And how helpful is the concept of diffusion in analyzing this dynamic? We invite both empirical as well as conceptual contributions that explore the various effects of cross-movement mobilizations on protest repertoires.
XVII. New Social Movements and the Labor Movement: Cross-movement Mobilization since 1968
Session organizers: Ulf Teichmann and Christian Wicke (Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr-University Bochum)
The New Social Movements (NSM) of the 1970s and 1980s have been portrayed as primary examples for cross-movement mobilization. Contemporary scholars have perceived the peace-, women’s- and environmental movements as one unit. Borne by an alternative ‘milieu’ and motivated by common norms and values, they have shared organizational and communication structures. While there is a growing research interest in the history of NSM, the focus has hardly been on the specifics of the relations amongst the particular movements. A more detailed perspective on the history of cross-movement mobilization shall provide further understanding of the degree of diversification and cooperation between the particular movements, especially the relations between the ‘old’ labor movement and the ‘new’ social movements: how accurate is the picture of a closely connected movement-family that has been drawn by research of the NSM? What are the most effective ways of studying the history of cross-movement mobilization since 1968 at the local, national and transnational levels? And finally, how helpful is ‘cross-movement mobilization’ and its associated conceptual tools from the social sciences— such as ‘movement spill-over’, ‘frame bridging’ and ‘movement alliances’—for historical studies of the new and old social movements since 1968?
XVIII. The contrasting cases of gender, work/care work and sexual/reproductive rights
Session organizer: Ilse Lenz (Ruhr-University Bochum)
XIX. Actors or tactics? Dynamics of Broad Coalitions and Reportoires of Contention for political transformation
Session organzier: Nina-Kathrin Wienkoop,Zentrum für Demokratieforschung (ZDEMO), Leuphana Universität Lüneburg & Jan-Philipp Vatthauer, Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
The recent series of uprisings across Northern Africa exemplified the wide range of protest and resistance tactics diverse actors use in times of and for political change. Besides the so called “Arab uprising”, movements pushing for democratization occurred across Latin America and Eastern Europe, as well as in Western Africa and Southeast Asia over the last years. Despite conflicting interests, actors form (temporal) strategic coalitions to put pressure on ruling elites. The social movements’ set of actions – ranging from signing petitions to civil disobedience – is influenced by external and internal dynamics that occasionally stand in conflict. Depending on the theoretical perspective of the literature strands, social movement scholars judge resources, political opportunities, eventful junctures, well-placed framing as decisive for protests to have an outcome. Particularly cross-movement mobilization seems significant during eventful transitions to affect the political responsiveness. Currently debated is the availability of new forms of communication as another powerful tool to the protester’s repertoires. The panel shall evaluate the role and interplay of cross-movement mobilization and their tactics in promoting democratization.
Call for Papers
Selected papers will be published in a special issue on cross-movement mobilization in the journal “moving the social” (http://moving-the-social.ub.rub.de/index.php/Moving_the_social). This special issue has already been confirmed and scheduled. In addition, shorter contributions can be published on the blogs “Protest und Bewegungsforschung” and “openDemocracy”.
Please provide an abstract (250 words) including the name of the preferred panel no later than 1st of October 1, 2016 and send it to
indicate if you need travel funding assistance as some travel grants will be available. If you have questions about the individual panels please contact the session organizers directly.
Further information on the workshop groups of the Institute for Protest and Social Movement Research (IPB), and how to become a member visit this website.
- Sabrina Zajak
- Giulia Gortanutti
- Johanna Lauber
- Ana-Maria Nikolas
- Research group transnational alliances between social movements and trade unions
- Dr. Britta Baumgarten, Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology, University Institute of Lisbon (CIES-IUL), Portugal (IPB)
- Prof Dr. Stefan Berger, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany (ISB)
- Prof Dr. Marissa Brookes, University of California, Riverside, USA
- Dr. Priska Daphi, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Germany (IPB&ISA47)
- Prof. Dr. Donatella della Porta, Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy (IPB)
- Prof. Dr. Margit Mayer, Freie University Berlin (IPB)
- Prof. Dr. Ilse Lenz, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany (ISB)
- Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Pleyers, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium (ISA47)
- Prof. Dr. Britta Rehder, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany (ISB)
- Prof. Dr. Dieter Rucht, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, Germany (IPB)
- Prof. Dr. Tobias Schulze-Cleven, Rutgers‘ School of Management and Labor Relations, USA
- Prof. Dr. Maria Kousis, University of Crete, Greece
- Prof. Dr. Sabrina Zajak, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany (ISB&IPB)
- Prof. Dr. Jochen Roose, Willy Brandt Zentrum Wrocław (Breslau) , Universität Wrocław (IPB)