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Britta Baumgarten, Priska Daphi and Peter Ullrich (eds.) (2014): Conceptualizing Culture in Social Movement Research, Houndsmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Blog post written by Peter Ullrich

Baumgarten et al. 2014Britta Baumgarten, Priska Daphi, and Peter Ullrich have edited a collected volume on cultural analyses of social movements which just came out with Palgrave. The book „Conceptualizing Culture in Social Movement Research“ resulted from several author workshops organized by the editors together with the research network „New Perspectives on Social Movements and Protest“.

In line with the general ideas of the network (bringing state-of-the-art theoretical debate from the social sciences to protest research) they systematicallv address some lacunas in the existing cultural approches to social movements. Many experienced and younger scholars from different countries elaborate specific theories and apply them to the subject of social movement research. Chapters were written by the editors, James Jasper, June Nash, Laurence Cox, Reiner Keller, Jochen Roose, Cristina Flesher Fominaya, Nicole Doerr, Jeffrey Juris, Olga Malets, Sabrina Zajak, and Erik Neveu (table of contents).

Luckily, large parts of the book can be acessed for free on Google Books. It is also possible to buy copies with a discount with this flyer.

The publisher announces it as follows:

Culture has become a prominent concept in social movement research. It is, however, often employed in an unsystematic and limited way. This volume introduces and compares different concepts of culture in social movement research. It assesses advantages and shortcomings of existing concepts and introduces new approaches. In particular, it addresses facets of cultural theory that have hitherto been largely neglected in the literature on social movements. This includes ideas from anthropology, discourse analysis, sociology of emotions, narration, spatial theory, and others. The chapters in this volume address three relationships between social movements and culture: culture as a framework for movements, social movements’ internal culture, and culture and cultural change as a result of social movement activity. For the purpose of making concepts easily accessible, each contribution explains its approach to culture in an understandable way and illustrates it with recent cases of mobilization.

The book already had quite a warm reception. Read what others said about the book:

A valuable and timely contribution. The authors and editors of this terrific volume provide the tools for figuring out how culture matters to movements with a useful conceptual framework and case studies chock-full of theoretical insights. (Francesca Polletta, University of California, Irvine).

In line with the more general cultural turn in the social sciences, this state of the art collection of essays and analyses provides stimulating ideas and insights into theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects of culture in social movements. It is a must for both curious newcomers and experienced scholars working in this field (Dieter Rucht, Prof. em., Free University Berlin and WZB Berlin Social Science Center)/i>.

CfP: Popular culture and protest repertoires in 20th century Europe. Consortium on Social Movements Workshop, European University Institute, Florence, 27 May 2013. Convenors: Ilaria Favretto (Professor of Contemporary European History, Kingston University, London), Xabier Itçaina (CNRS Research fellow-Sciences Po Bordeaux – Marie Curie Fellow European University Institute, Florence)

In the footsteps of Charles Tilly’s influential study of contentious politics in France and Great Britain, scholars of social movements tend to distinguish between pre-industrial and post-1789 forms of collective action. In early modern Europe, protest repertoires mainly revolved around community-based forms of direct action, which included attacks on property, field invasion, physical violence to persons. Charivari rites in particular, that is rituals of public humiliation through which small communities denounced and sanctioned certain breaches of commonly accepted customary rules, held significant prominence. However, as a result of industrialisation, the rise of the nation-state and the spread of association politics, pre-industrial communitarian forms of protest were to gradually fade away. A new modern repertoire, which included boycotts, barricades, petitions, demonstrations, strikes, came to replace it.

Traditional forms of collective action did not disappear overnight. In particular, political charivari – that is rough music, mock trials, mock funerals, ride on donkeys, shaving, effigy burning or hanging, soiling, etc – continued to be practiced and adapted to new political needs well up to the 20th c. On the model of E. P. Thompson and Natalie Zemon Davis’ seminal work on popular culture(s) and protest, 19th and 20th c. historians and historical anthropologists have well documented the survival and practice of rituals of folk justice in later periods, mostly in the context of 19th c. liberal
revolutions, peasant protest, Fascist violence, WWII Resistance movements, 19th c. and 20thc. industrial conflict, nationalist movements and new social movements. However, particularly in the study of 20th c. protest movements, these repertoires have been little investigated and, overall, poorly deciphered.

We believe that a better understanding of old repertoires and their underlying cultures and symbolism is crucial to fully comprehend modern protest. Therefore, the purpose of the workshop is to bring together scholars from different subject areas -historians, social anthropologists, political scientists and social movement scholars- to reflect in an interdisciplinary and comparative European perspective upon the influence of popular cultures and old repertoires of contention on modern protest.

We will address the following questions:

  • To what extent, why and in what kind of contexts traditional pre-industrial repertoires continued to be practiced in the modern period (19th and 20th c.)?
  • How did old repertoires of contention and traditional protest cultures survive industrialisation and urbanisation? Are there any European variations? If so, why?
  • How did old protest routines integrate into modern protest tactics? Which factors account for their use and revival over time? Are there any specific groups of protesters who have practiced these repertoires?
  • How have these repertoires been received and understood by public opinion, the media or political actors such as political parties or trade unions?

Contributions to theoretical approaches to the topic will also be welcome.
Please send your proposal (max 400 words; preferably in English) and information about your institutional affiliation and status (100 words) by 21 January 2013 via Email to: Ilaria Favretto (I.Favretto(at)Kingston.ac.uk) and Xabier Itcaina (Xabier.Itcaina(at)eui.eu)

Please note that participation at the workshop (that is accommodation and travel expenses) will be self-funded. Selected participants will be expected to send a short version of their paper (1500-2000 words) by 13 May 2013. Provided we find a suitable publisher, we are planning to publish papers (in English) either as an edited volume or as an academic journal special issue. Longer and final versions of papers will be expected by 1 September 2013.

CfP as pdf file

Timothy Brown und Lorena Anton (Hg.): Between the Avantgarde and the Everyday. Subversive Politics in Europe, 1958-2008
. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books 2011.

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that protest can no longer be understood narrowly in terms of demonstrations, boycotts, sit-ins or teach-ins. Indeed, the action forms popularized since the 1960s frequently involve attempts to elaborate resistance to hegemonic social forces by activity in the realm of  culture generally, and in the arts in particular. The blurring of the boundaries between art and politics may been as a characteristic development of the political activism of the post-war period.

„Between the Avant Garde and the Everyday“ brings together twelve cutting-edge essays by an interdisciplinary group of international scholars concerned with the multifaceted link between culture and politics. Highlighting little-known case studies, this book presents an exciting range of new perspectives on cultural politics and the politics of culture in Europe from the 1950s to the fall of Communism and beyond.

Mehr Informationen auf der Webseite zur Buchserie.

Bis zum 5. September 50% Rabatt auf das Buch über diese Seite.

Titelbild: Performance von Pussy Riot auf dem Roten Platz (Foto: Pussy Riot Blog)

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