Towards SISP2021_Call for Panels


Call for Panels_ SISP 2021 general conference

Deadline: 15th March 2021




In view of the next SISP general meeting , which will be held online from 9th to 11st September 2021, we invite you to have a look at our Call for Panels. You can send your proposals following these indications by, and no later than March 15th, 2021.


Sezione 6. Partecipazione e Movimenti Sociali (Participation and Social Movements)

Chairs: Manuela Caiani, Alberta Giorgi

The section promotes panels for the study of the transformations of political participation and social movements (new actors, organizations and strategies) in a phase characterized by the financial and economic crisis, sharpened by the pandemic, and the profound changes in the political and social context in Europe and beyond (the ongoing process of European integration and globalization, digitalization, etc.). The economic crisis accelerates the processes of de-democratization at the national level and the detachment of people from traditional party politics, eroding the popular sovereignty and the socio-political foundations for conventional participation and decision-making processes in the mass liberal democracies.

If reflections on post-democracy are partly confirmed by empirical evidence, the predictions of an inevitable decline of civic engagement are refuted. In fact, political participation has found new forms of expression and channeling that have revitalized and transformed both the more traditional forms of participation and the more unconventional forms emerged in the sixties-seventies, especially those used by young people and women. Nevertheless, also new forms of non-progressive movements have (re) emerged (as the many right wing populist movements and extremist groups in several European countries as well as at the EU level, or the movements protesting against Covid-related restrictions), which raise the controversial question for scholars about the side effects of ‘bad social capital’ and how to study them. Waves of mobilizations have developed in recent years, both in Western countries (e.g. anti austerity movements) and in other contexts (e.g. the Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter), showing many elements that were already present in the processes of transnational mobilization of the past (e.g. the global justice movement). A new paradigm of collective action seems to gradually emerge with new forms of communication, multiple identities, different forms of coordination and resource mobilization, alternative practices and experimental democracy inside social movements.

In this context, an electoral democracy limited to a ritual of request for electoral consent to delegate the “professional politicians” and/or the so-called “technical” people to manage resources and problems of the state is largely inadequate. The issue of a participatory democracy emerges strongly, especially in times of economic crisis, with the growing importance of the movements that claims to be the true ‘representative’ of citizens’ demands. Also, science and experts are issues at stake in popular uprisings, directly addressing the issues of ‘technicality’ and ‘expertise’. Indeed, in a period of socio-economic and political crisis, left-wing political-institutional actors are absent or too weak and fragmented, and a growing space is left to the mobilizations and protests promoted by populist movements and parties. On the other hand, new urban and territorial movements have emerged, generating alternative discourses, performing new practices, and rethinking new types of relationship with the local state in seeking to answer social demands that neither the market nor the state have responded. In particular, these new mobilizations, claiming the “right to the city” and the right to the “commons”, oppose the continuous commodification of both urban and rural areas, the devastation of the territories and the dismantling of the welfare state system. To investigate not only the nature of the new forms of “resilience” and “resistance” practices, but also how they reflect the social, cultural and political transformations (e.g. their impact on the overall political, and often party systems) becomes therefore essential. Moreover, mobilizations against or in solidarity with migrants and on migration policies occur also together with the protests and struggles of resident migrants for their labor and life conditions.

The section hosts panels addressing these issues, starting from empirical research that reflect the adequacy of the theoretical and methodological tools until now used to analyze, understand and explain these processes. Panels with a comparative approach and giving a special attention to methodology will be welcome. At the same time, this section aims to host panels with the goal of discussing the relationship between social movements and traditional political actors (i.e. political parties, unions, associations), left wing and right wing social movements, the role of violence in political mobilizations, as well as the role of digital technologies in local, national and transnational mobilizations and the outputs of social movements.