Workshop »Theorizing social movements: Challenges and contradictions in a contested field of Southern struggles and Northern theories«, 11 June 2014, 9:00-17:00, Bayreuth University

The workshop aims at discussing what social movement theories can contribute to the study of protest, social movements, and civil societies in Africa. The attempt of the workshop is to ground empirical research on the African continent in theoretical debates of social movement theories. At the same time, it attempts to test existing social movement theories regarding their xplanatory potentials for the African context.

Main questions to be discussed are:

  • How far do existing theories and concepts from social movement studies which derived mainly from case studies in Europe and the United States apply for empirical phenomena in the Global South? How could or should they be reformulated?
  • Which theoretical approaches and concepts from the research fields of anthropology, sociology, geography, and political science are promising for analysing social movements and civil societies in Africa?
  • If theory is being developed from empirical cases: How far does the range of these theories extend?
  • How do research on social movements and political activism relate to each other? What roles do researchers and subjects of research play?
  • What does this mean for concepts, methodology, and social movement practice?