SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011
Shaping lives and places within social movements
Location Tower B, Piso 3, Room T9
Date and Start Time 18 Apr, 2011 at 11:30
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?
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.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Shaping desire through place and space: the construction of the 'LGTB sphere'
In this paper we propose to think about the relationship between place, space, identity and sexual dissidence through the analysis of the appropriation of different places by LGTB activism which provoke different visibilities, forms of sociability and social interactions.
After the publication in 1995 of the canonic text Mapping Desire, coordinated by David Bell and Gill Valentine (New York, Routledge) many researches have focused on the issue of sexualities/cartographies of space. Questioning the heterosexualisation of space and the queering of space (as for example in Halberstam (2005) -In a queer time and place- and E. Grosz (1995) -Space, Time and Perversion), we want to deal with grass-root LGTB activism and occupation of space. Place-and locality building have been determinant for the construction and visibilisation and recognition of LGTB non-stigmatised identities through occupation of physical space and occupation of cyberspace. In the first case we will consider the different venues LGTB associations have in Madrid, their activities and their roles in organizing identity-related events thus enacting particular forms of sociabilities. We will also consider Madrid Pride route, in relation to activism and sociopolitical contexts. Activism and parading are supported by a strong territorialized neighbourhood, unique in Southern Europe. We also want to pay some attention to activist appropriation of cyberspace and the means by which forms of identity and sociability are constructed in this setting. Through the discussion about the relationship between social movements -particularly LGTB movements- and their increasing use of space (physical, metaphorical), we want to focus not only on issues related to identity and visibility but also aim to discuss the equation that reads that occupation of space- visibility means social tolerance /acceptance or compromise with the movements's philosophies.
Virtual space and the diversification of student protest forms
This paper presents a diachronic comparison of youth social movements (1968 / 2008) in France, leading eventually to a discussion about the influence of virtual space over public attitude
Celebrating forty years since the protests of '68 and twenty years since the clash of communist regimes would be suitable pretexts to ask: are there anymore reasons in the "civilized world" to expect such mass protests or we can declare for the first time in history that the youth is pleased with the establishment of the welfare state?
I chose University of Nanterre (the place of initiation of '68 movements in Paris) to conduct my research as participant observer during my 2008-2009 postdoctoral fellowship. In addition to classic methods, I employed the visual techniques, which enriches the information and can induce a direct empathic state between the viewer and the author.
This diachronic comparison also leads to a discussion about the influence of virtual space over public attitude, to prove how website forums, socializing sites and blogs become the main place of gathering for youth in present time and stimulate their creativity in promoting new forms of protest (as die-in or brain-drain).
"A praça": reappropriation of the public space and making of a public sphere by Portuguese social movements
Through Portuguese social movements, we will see how their members make a public sphere by reappropriating a public place, “a praça”. This process occurs through artistic expressions, games, speeches, exchanges. Thus, social movements contribute to partly recreate the lost public sphere.
In "The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere" (1962), Jürgen Habermas asserted that the public sphere, a place activated by and for people, an area of public life open to the (in)formation, communication and debates on public issues, flourished in eighteenth-century Europe and then, by contrast, in the following centuries, it has vanished. Richard Senett depicted a quite similar situation and historical evolution some years later in his "The Fall of Public Man" (1974).
In fact, I think social movements are spaces that permit to recuperate in part the lost public sphere. They are constructing "communicative reason" as when activists denounce "instrumental rationality" and particularly its economicist and neoliberal variant. They are places for "ideal speech situation", that is, for discussion, critics, politics, notably via print and virtual media.
But, this is also the case when they take to the streets during marches and demonstrations, and in particular when they reappropriate a common kind of public place: The square.
Through the example of Portuguese social movements, we will see how their members make a public sphere by reappropriating a public place, "a praça". In short, this process mainly occurs through the activation of various artistic expressions, games, speeches, conversations, exchanges, around foods and drinks, all of them taking place in the recuperated square.
Social movements and popular educational trends
In this paper, we propose a reading of popular movements as individual and collective learning processes through participation in new modes of social relations and possibilities for exercising power and the word brought by the coup d’etat of April 25 in Portugal.
In this paper (part of a research work in anthropology on the institutionalization processes in two kindergartens located in Lisbon - due to home occupations in 1975)I intend to discuss the ways in which the intense popular movement, with expression in the occupation of houses , has contributed to the movement of popular education, based on the transforming action of the subjects on their own, from innovative ways / rupture in relations with others, with the spaces and contexts, the promoters of an emancipatory educational action.
It proposes a new reading of popular movements as individual processes and collective learning through participation in new modes of social relations and possibilities for exercising power and taking the word both by children and adult - sharing the transforming possibilities brought by the social movements that followed the military coup d'etat of April 25 in Portugal.
Recreating space, reclaiming place
The shaping of a contemporary Bolivian identity: A case study of indigenous social movements in Bolivia and their claim for ‘taking culture back’.
This paper will focus on the shaping of the social movements and how this shaping has included a redefinition of being indigenous and a reshaping of being Bolivian.
Coming to office in 2005 the Bolivian President, Evo Morales said in his inauguration speech:
"The indigenous people have been marginalised with the foundation of Bolivia in 1825, therefore the indigenous people will now claim the right to recreate Bolivia"
This pinpoints the processes on shaping identity in indigenous peoples' social movements in Bolivia. Indigenous people are now aiming at 'taking back' Bolivia on many levels. This paper will focus on the shaping of the social movement and how this shaping has included a redefinition of being indigenous and a redefinition of being Bolivian. This implies a strategic use of indigenous culture forming an alliance with international actors at a point in history when focus on indigenous rights has been emphasized. An increased focus on indigenous people and their identity, culture and 'belonging' to territories can be seen in government reforms in the 1990's and in recent policies after Evo Morales took office in 2005.
Indigenous social movements have been active in protests against increasing gas and water prices. These manifestations have had political goals, but have also been effective in shaping identity and belonging to Bolivia as a place. The paper explores the interconnection of social movement's activities and search for identity with international discourse on culture and rights, in this case especially the connection between the 'space' for identity expressed by indigenous leaders in international discourse and Bolivia as the 'place' where indigenous identity is located.
Neighbors, an endangered species in Barceloneta
The Barceloneta has witnessed in recent years of an unstoppable economic and urban development that have the tourism industry as the main actor of change. Barceloneta's neighbors have adopted mechanisms of fight that situates them at the epicenter of the Barcelona neighborhood struggle against tourism.
The expansion of the tourism industry in la Barceloneta, has caused conflicts of interests between neighborhood residents, the City Council and the companies / services dedicated to tourism. The rising price of housing, the modification of public space and social relationships, have undermined the social networks of a traditional working-class neighborhood. Many residents, especially elders, have fled their homes because they can not pay the new rent or live in the abandoned situation of many buildings that construction companies, voluntarily, want to empty, projecting to create apartments of touristic use.
Different groups, activists and neighborhood associations, have begun a process of recovering memory and dignity of the neighborhood that has joined the demands of the neighborhood associations of the territory. Beyond denying the tourism industry, these collectives require that the mark of economic and social model that prevails in Barcelona, not eliminate the possibility of living in the neighborhood.
While the City Council tries to convince of the goodness of tourism, the propaganda machinery for the promotion of tourism, continues to treat the neighborhood as a picturesque, at the same time modern and cosmopolitan place to sunbathe, eat, drink and party.
Many neighbors warn that it is necessary to generate a real and creative debate about the future of the place in which prevails the right to live in la Barceloneta above the interests of those who seek to live from la Barceloneta.
Meanwhile, thousands of carefree tourists swim in the sea and photograph the folklorism of one of the fashionless district of Barcelona.
Reconstructing households among the cave dwellers of Cappadocia
The new settlements that the cave dwellers were moved into, were found to be disfunctional and unpractical in many aspects as the local community had to reconstruct their new habitual environment according to their residential and traditional needs.
Cappadocia, a 'moonlike' landscape of giant rock cones with historic cave dwellings and Byzantine Churches is located in the heartland of Anatolian peninsula. Its' people lived in these naturally formed rock structures throughout centuries.
In 1985, Cappadocia was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and became a National Park. Since then, a steadily increasing number of cultural tourists have visited the place and over the last two decades, the increase in cultural tourism and foreign settlers to the area has led to a problematic relationship between the key heritage attractions in the area, tourism and the local community.
Cappadocians were displaced from their caves by the government and were moved into the "AFET houses" (Catastrophe houses) as part of a modernization program.
This paper aims to investigate the local community's perceptions of being displaced by economic development of Cappadocia, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Turkey, through visual anthropology methods. The objective is to examine the impact of tourism on people in displaced households' by locating and documenting life histories and current living circumstances, in terms of the interconnection of social, economic, and political processes that are demonstrated in the effects of regional tourism policies. It aims to examine the challenges of involuntary displacement, migration, reconstructing livelihoods, resettlement and the adaptation processes from a farming economy to tourism oriented life style, by adopting "the house" within "the landscape" as a metaphor for constant social change, especially in questioning the tourism policies that govern land acquisition and in advocacy on behalf of the local communities faced forced- displacement.
Place, film, politics
This paper explores the political significance of filmed places. Drawing on a selection of films (mostly documentaries), I look at some of the techniques that influence our perception of a place. This can be decisive for the success or failure of a politically 'engaged' film.
It has become quite a cliché to say that every film is political, since every film expresses a particular point of view and a point of view is never neutral. I wish to approach this question from a different angle: that of place. Documentary films are a lot to do with going to a place in order to collect images - even if the events being portrayed are a thing of the past. Likewise, activists have resorted to film to record their activism and communicate their aims, which are necessarily place-bound. In both cases, place stands out as an important element; yet, its role is often dismissed as mere scenario or scene-setting. I wish to contradict this notion and propose that we look at these films from the point of view of place. How are places constructed in these films? How does the way a place is filmed - which entails, among other things, decisions regarding the camera, lighting, framing, etc. - influence our perception of it? And how do these decisions determine the way a film is to 'affect' us politically, regardless of the filmmaker's own intentions?
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.