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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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2018-11-20

Call for Papers – International Conference The Contentious Politics of Solidarity

The conference will focus on the contestation of acts of solidarity by counter-movements and the state, as well as on resistance to it by migrant and pro-migrant movements.

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Call for Papers for the international conference “The Contentious Politics of Solidarity” that will be held on May the 16th and 17th 2019 at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence.

The international conference is organized by Donatella della Porta and Elias Steinhilper. It will host two keynotes speeches by Donatella della Porta and Engin Isin. The documentary IUVENTA will be also screened in the presence of the director, Michele Cinque.

Acts of solidarity or ‘political altruism’ are fundamental components of most progressive contemporary social movements. Members of these movements voluntarily defend the interests, rights, and identities of others usually marginalized individuals or groups. Such practices thus entail a specific type of relationship between actors in unequal power relations. In contrast to charity, solidarity presupposes a transformative impetus and aims at restructuring society towards a more equal order. Not least for this empowering element, acts of solidarity have been contested ever since: within different factions of civil society, by counter-movements and by public institutions at various territorial levels. Conceptual and practical debates have emerged on the relationship between ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘solidarity’, particularly on the role of power, domination and paternalism therein. Counter movements have rhetorically and physically challenged such acts. Public authorities have additionally employed multiple forms of repression. Old laws have been used and new laws produced to legally prosecute acts of solidarity.

In the light of increasing controversies regarding the practices of support for migrants in Europe, the conference on the contentious politics of solidarity will focus on the contestation of acts of solidarity by counter-movements and the state, as well as on resistance to it by migrant and pro-migrant movements. Areas to be addressed include but are not limited to:

  • Which solidarity practices are subject to challenges by governmental actors or the media?
  • Which types of frames and practices are used by counter-movements against acts of solidarity?
  • Which legal instruments have been used to discourage from acts of solidarity?
  • What strategies of policing are being performed?
  • How do solidarity movements respond to their acts being challenged?
  • Which types of practices of resistance have been developed by both migrants and supportive
    organizations?

Both theoretical and empirical contributions will be welcome. A selection of full-paper submissions to the conference will be submitted as a special issue or an edited volume. Please send your abstracts (up to 500 words) to elias.steinhilper[AT]sns.it by 31 December 2018.

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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