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International Conference « From social to political. News forms of mobilization and democratization »


In the recent evolution of contemporary social movements three phases can be

The first phase is marked both by the labour movement and the systemic
importance attributed to the labour conflict in industrial society. A conflict
interpreted by Emile Durkheim as a shortcoming of social integration, by Max
Weber as a rational conflict by entrepreneurs and workers interests, and a
central class struggle for society transformation by the view of Karl Marx.

The second phase of development of social movements takes on new social
movements of the sixties and seventies of the XX century, such as students,
women and environmentalists movements of post-industrial society. Actions
whose sense and meaning are explained mainly by two new analytical
perspectives: resource mobilization theory (McAdam and Tilly) that focuses on
the study of rational attitudes of these actions and conflicts; and actionalist
sociology, which aims to identify new central actors of the conflicts in the postindustrial
society, as labour movement was in industrial society.

The third phase emerges in a world framed by the ascendancy of markets,
the prominent role of financial capital flows, communitarian closure and
fundamentalism, and refers to movements of affirmation of human rights and
democracy as alternatives to global domination and systemic conditioning of
individual and groups.

The objective of this conference is to foster theoretical reflections and to present empirical evidences regarding some of the recent mobilizations that
took place in the Mediterranean area and that have two very clearly
distinguished threads. On the one hand, there are the mobilizations that reveal
the need to open space to democracy by asking for political reforms and
democratization processes in countries such as Tunez, Egypt, Morocco, Libya
and Syria, among other. On the other hand, numerous discontent displays
regarding the political management of economical crisis and the shrinking of the
Welfare State in South Europe triggered mobilizations such as 15-M in Spain,
“Indignate-vous” in France, Italy and Greece and other protests organized by
young people and students in England, Israel and Belgium.

Bringing together different networks and orientations around social
movements, expressed by the two ISA Research Committees 47 and 48, this
conference offers the opportunity to debate around the changes and the
meanings of social movements of the twenty-first century. In special, we are
interested in analysing the antecedents, the influence of social and political
conditions, the movement’s nature regarding organization, forms of protest,
claims, causes, protagonists, role of social media and to spot the meaning of
these relatively new forms of protest beyond the action repertoire.

Date and place
9th – 10thFebruary 2012, Bilbao – Spain
University of the Basque Country (Paraninfo)

International Sociological Association (ISA)
ISA RC47 – Research Committee Social Classes and Social Movements
ISA RC48 – Research Committee Social Movements, Collective Action and Social