[URBANTH-L] CFP: Shaping Europe in a Globalizing World? Protest Movements and the Rise of Transnational Civil Society? (Zurich)

Angela Jancius jancius3022 at comcast.net
Thu Aug 21 13:02:44 EDT 2008

From: Simon Teune <teune at GMX.DE>

Hi there,

This is probably the last call for papers / travel grants in the framework of the Zurich Conference. Please apply online at www.protest-research.eu and send your proposal to teune at gmx.de. The extended deadline is August 31. More information regarding the conference can be found below.

Best, Simon

Call for Papers / Travel Grants:

Shaping Europe in a Globalized World? -
Protest Movements and the Rise of a Transnational Civil Society?

Conference at the University of Zurich, Department of German
with the support of the European Commission

Conveners:     Roland Axtmann (Centre for the Study of Culture and             
Politics, University of Swansea), Kathrin Fahlenbrach (University
of Halle), Martin Klimke (University of Heidelberg), Joachim
Scharloth (University of Zurich)

*Location*:     Department of German, University of Zurich
*Date*:     June 23-26, 2009

Recent research into the development and implications of transnational
modes of political organization has tended to concentrate on the growth
of institutions involved with international political and economic
governance. This has been counter-balanced by growing research into
international protest movements that appears to paint a picture of an
emerging transnational civil society; one that includes formalized
Non-Governmental Organisations such as OXFAM, Amnesty International and
international labour movements as well as the seemingly more spontaneous
movements associated with anti-globalization and anti-capitalist
activism. The study of transnational social movements is, then, central
to the development of our understanding of the internationalization of
politics as such and in particular to attempts to conceptualize a global
civil society.

However, such research is problematic and in need of expansion and
realignment in both the conceptual and empirical dimensions. There are
three central issues that need to be addressed:

Firstly, research into transnational social movements often presupposes
a series of normative claims regarding the desirability of particular
forms of democratic activity. It then relies on these norms to both
explain and justify research findings. But the movement from centralized
and state-led national politics to a global politics of multiple actors
in a multi-polar context precisely calls such norms into question: they
are a source of the conflictual dynamics of global politics not its
outcome and still less a governing explanatory principle. Research needs
to conceptualize the way in which an irreducible tension between a
demand for universal norms and the reality of a global pluriverse is
constitutive of the terrain traversed by transnational movements.

Secondly, research into social movements tends overwhelmingly to
concentrate on movements of the left. This leads not only to the
minimizing of the attention paid to social movements of the right. It
also simply generalizes a particular dimension of political
differentiation while suppressing others. This may have been sufficient
for the study of the first wave of post-war transnational movements in
1960s Europe. It is not sufficient for today. For instance, an
increasingly significant political phenomenon consists of transnational
nationalisms: movements organized for national 'liberation' that operate
across borders, connected to and sustained by networks of migrant
co-nationals and other sympathizers. Movements organized to oppose trade
liberalization may be motivated by nationalist and particularist
sentiments as well as social democratic nostalgia. Religious movements
cannot easily be contained within a left-right spectrum. Research into
transnational social movements must undertake empirical examination of
the multiple dimensions along which groups are dispersed and also to
conceptualise this distribution.

Thirdly, to date research has concentrated on European-style social
movements and has identified similar variants in other regions. But this
might mean that religious movements such as Falun Gong in China are not
properly attended to.

The goal of this conference is to address these issues; to consolidate
present research and to begin developing new empirical findings and new
conceptual frameworks.

We especially encourage applications referring to the following topics:

.    Globalization of Politics - Globalization of Protest?
.    Transnationalism within Right Wing Protest Movements
.    Filling the Gap: European Protest Movements as a Result of a Lack
     of Democracy within the EU
.    EU Polity and Europeanization of Protest
.    Applying the Concepts of "Civil Society" and "Social Movements" in
    Eastern Europe and non-European Countries - Potential and Limits
.    Even Newer Social Movements - Creating new Public Spheres?
.    Building Transnational Protest Identities - Languages, Images and
.    European Anti-Corporate Campaigns in a Globalized Economy
.    Migration and Ethnicity as a Source of Protest
.    Professionalizing Protest
.    The Future of Political Participation: Social Movements, Lobbying
    or Party Politics
.    Taming Protest: The Rituals of Violence

Applications from postgraduate students, early stage researchers
(PhD-students), postdocs and young scholars from all disciplinary and
national backgrounds are strongly encouraged and form the main target
group for this event.

All travel and accommodation costs within reasonable boundaries will be
covered by the European Union.

Although the conference language will mainly be English, we also invite
proposals in French, Spanish, Dutch, German and Polish, if a short
summary (2 pages) in English is provided.

*DEADLINE* FOR APPLICATIONS:            August 31, 2008
(abstracts no longer than 500 words)

SELECTIONS WILL BE MADE BY:             October 1, 2008

PLEASE USE ONLINE APPLICATION AT:         www.protest-research.eu
FURTHER QUESTIONS:                  mail at protest-research.eu

Shaping Europe in a Globalized World? Protest Movements and the Rise of a Transnational Civil Society? 
Zürich, June 23-26, 2009

Panel: Transnational protest communities - transnational public spheres

Chair: Simon Teune, Freie Universität Berlin <teune at GMX.DE>

As a political collective action protest necessarily takes place in a public mode. It is staged publicly to attract attention, to raise the awareness for a problem, to discuss causes and solutions, and - possibly - to influence political and economic decision-makers. On the one hand, public and commercial mass media are an important target of protesters, but they are not the only arena for public claims-making. Citizens are also addressed in direct communication in assemblies and (more or less random) encounters. On the other hand, the organization of protest and the impact on a wider public does not go without discussion on a smaller scale: Processes of mobilization are intrinsically linked to public spheres within the protest community. Meetings, insurgent media, mailing-lists, and other forms of exchange are arenas to build a community, define common aims and deliberate about strategies. Hence, the analysis of the public sphere may relate to an external or an internal level.

Obviously, the link between protest and public spheres does not stop at the borders of nation states. Transnational protest rests in transnational public spheres and it contributes to the shape of these, no matter if we deal with public spheres that build on mass media, assemblies or encounters. In a transnational environment, however, opportunities and constraints for the development of a public debate are different, due to linguistic, cultural and structural heterogeneity. Translation and re-contextualization are indispensable techniques for new commonalities to emerge on the transnational level. Notwithstanding such attempts to construct commonalities transnational public spheres are likely to reproduce material and symbolic inequalities. The access to an arena of exchange and the perspectives that are brought in shape the discussions both among protesters and on a larger scale. As far as public and commercial mass media are concerned, the bulk of the discussions continues to be bound to a national framework which is more or less permeable for influences from other countries. To stir public discussion in other countries under these conditions can be a major goal of mobilization but it is also dependent on a number of factors such as resonant frames and images, geographical or imagined proximity, etc.

Papers proposed for this panel might address one or more of the following questions:

- Under which conditions do transnational insurgent public spheres develop? When do attempts to transnational exchange fail?
- Which factors in the establishment of a transnational public sphere (e.g. images, lingua francas, frame building, physical meetings, etc.) bridge differences between communities that are nationally bound?
- How do material and symbolic resources translate in protesters' transnational public spheres? Are they more than an elite exchange? Do they overcome or continue paternalism or colonialism? 
- When and how do commercial and public mass media cover transnational protest?
- What are the differences between mass media in national contexts and how do protesters deal with these (e.g. using the boomerang effect)?
- Which differences can be found in public spheres on different levels (e.g. commercial vs. alternative mass media; protesters' physical vs. virtual meetings)?

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