Shaping lives and places within social movements

Cédric Masse (Research Centre on Political Action - University of Lausanne)
Sofia Sampaio (CRIA, ISCTE-IUL)
Tower B, Piso 3, Room T9
Session slots:

Short abstract:

A social movement is usually a site of political participation, where lives are shaped and places are built. We propose to analyse these processes and experiences. How are lives and places shaped and imagined by and within social movements? How are social movements themselves lived through in place?

Long abstract:

The term 'social movement' normally designates a collective challenge to elites, authorities or cultural codes, independent of political organisations or interest groups (Tarrow Sidney, 1994, Power in Movement: Collective Action, Social Movements and Politics, Cambridge University Press). Whatever their form, motivations and historical origins (social theorists diverge on these points), there is no doubt that social movements are sites of political participation with a strong local emphasis. This is especially true of most of the movements that emerged during the 1990s to contest the expansion of so-called 'corporate globalisation'. From land occupation in Brazil, to the active contestation of mega-dams in India, and water privatisation in Bolivia, social movements have entailed local, grass-roots mobilisation against the state or corporate assault on the 'commons' (e.g. land, natural resources, public services). These movements, therefore, are about shaping people's lives through a direct engagement with place- and locality-building. How are these processes lived through? How are lives shaped and places built by and within social movements? We call for contributions that shed light on these questions. We are particularly interested in ethnographies and first-hand accounts by activists that discuss how places taken up (and often also taken over) by social movements have changed people's lives, but more theory-orientated papers are also welcome. Finally, we are also interested in how visual representations (such as photography and film) have contributed to the expansion of social movements and, arguably, to the stepping-up of their struggles.