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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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From militant protest to rioting: Dynamics of bystander mobilization during protests – Stefan Malthaner, Hamburg Institute for Social Research

A talk on the dynamics of violence in the context of street demonstrations – based on research on protests against the G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017

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This talk analyzes dynamics of violence in the context of street demonstrations – based on research on protests against the G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017. More specifically, it is about a phenomenon often referred to as “rioting”; that is, more diffuse patterns of clashes with the police, destruction, and looting in certain neighborhoods or areas, after or beyond organized protests. What characterizes these events, in particular, is a process of expansion or mobilization beyond participants in protests and street demonstrations; in other words, the fact that not only militant activists or protestors take part in the confrontations and looting, but a broad range of heterogeneous groups of people gradually come to participate, including bystanders, spectators, local residents, youths, as well as people coming into the area after the unrest has started, attracted by the “riot”.

Approaches focusing on dynamics of situational interaction can contribute to explaining these processes, but have serious limitations. Based on a detailed analysis of events in an area called “Schanzenviertel” in central-Western Hamburg on the night of July 7th, 2017, I identify several patterns of “micro-mobilization”. At a second level, I then examine the „intra-situational“, relational and spatial dynamics that shape the particular setting in which these patterns of interaction take place, and the ways in which what Jack Katz calls the “epiphany of invisibility” emerges (Katz 2015). Finally, I discuss „trans-situational“ dynamics that shape and constantly transform this setting, among other things via shifts and changes in the configuration of participants.

News

22/07/2019

Protest for a future: international report on #FridaysForFuture and the climate strike

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Composition, mobilization and motives of the participants in Fridays For Future climate protests on 15 March 2019, in 13 European cities. A multi-country collaboration report, with contributions from COSMOS researchers Lorenzo Zamponi, Donatella della Porta, Martín Portos, Niccolò Bertuzzi and Daniela Chironi.

21/06/2019

Call for papers: "The Nation and the Radical Left - Practices and Discourses of National Identity in Left-Wing Politics"

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The call for papers is now open for a conference on national identities and left-wing politics.

18/06/2019

Call for papers: “Class without consciousness” – The Politics of Fragmented Class Identities

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The call for papers is now open for a two-day conference on class and identities at the Scuola Normale Superiore on 14-15 November 2019

Publications

Journal Article - 2019

From the Rainy Place to the Burnt Palace: How Social Movements Form their Political Strategies. The Case of the Six Federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba

Leonidas Oikonomakis
Exploring the case of the cocaleros of the Chapare, this article argues that more emphasis should be placed on mechanisms that are internal to the movements, such as: (a) the resonance of other political experiences at home and abroad, (b) internal struggles for ideological hegemony, and (c) the political formation of their grassroots.

Journal Article - 2019

The Modern Prince and the Sociological Imagination

Riccardo Emilio Chesta, Michael Burawoy
Michael Burawoy in Conversation with Riccardo Emilio Chesta