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Tag Archives: Social Movement Studies

Social Movement Studies


A special issue of Social Movement Studies edited by Kristin Aune (University of Derby) and Jonathan Dean (University of Leeds)

What is the state of feminist social movements in 21st century Europe?


European second-wave feminism – loosely denoting the emergence of feminist activism in the 1960s and 1970s – has been extensively studied, but there is very little work on new and emerging feminist mobilisations.

Several decades on from second-wave feminism, European societies have changed in significant ways, many of them gendered, and many of which might be said to have arisen in response to feminist social movements. Recent years have seen the redrawing of national boundaries, the fall of communism and rise of capitalism inEastern Europe, the increasing influence of neoliberalism, the development of new information technologies, and the feminization and increasing precarity of the labour market. Although there is now a substantial literature on the gendered aspects of these transformations and the impact of feminism on state institutions, there is little research on how contemporary feminist activist movements respond to, and engage with, these profound transformations in the gender regimes of European societies.

Additionally, many academic and social commentators have said that feminist movements are no longer as vibrant and radical as they once were and that young people are disconnected from feminism and social movement activism more broadly. But it is evident that feminism continues to be a significant social and political force, albeit often in ways that depart from traditional models of movement activism and cut across generational boundaries.

Against this backdrop, the special issue asks: how have 21st century feminisms responded to the changing gendered realities of contemporaryEurope? Is European feminist activism in decline, or is it taking on a renewed visibility and significance? And in what ways do the demands and practices of European feminists converge and diverge in different contexts?

Questions to be explored include, but are not limited to, the following:

* What are the key demands and foci of contemporary feminist activisms, and how do they vary across contexts?

* What kinds of strategies, tactics and organisational structures characterise new feminist activisms inEurope?

* What is the cultural and political reach of “third wave” feminism? To what extent is a wave-based generational metaphor appropriate for making sense of the histories of feminism in different contexts? * What are the main (dis)connections between contemporary feminist activism, and earlier waves/generations?

* Is feminism still a women’s movement? What is the place of men and queer, intersex and transgendered people in these new feminist groups?

* How do diasporic communities and the politics of migration interact with the new feminisms?

* What role do new information technologies play within the new feminisms?

* What are the connections between feminist social movements and left-wing politics? What role does feminism play in student protest and activism against austerity measures acrossEurope?

* In what ways do new feminist movements reflect and contest their different national landscapes? In what ways have democratic transitions (including those from fascism and communism) impacted upon feminist movements? Or is the distinctiveness of nation for feminist movements increasingly eroded in a digitally-mediated world? How do European feminists engage with globalization? Is what ways is the local (e.g. the city, neighbourhood or place) still significant?

* How do social movements relate to the institutionalisation of feminism in national and international politics (e.g. through the EU)? What are the different ways in which feminist movements engage with political parties?

* How do new feminist movements address intersectionality in relation to ethnicity, class, sexuality, health, disability and other related areas?

* How are new feminisms engaging with the changing religious realities, including secularization and the rise of fundamentalisms, of countries inEurope?


The call is open and competitive. Each submission will be subject to the usual (blind) review process. Deadline for submission of articles (maximum 8,000 words including bibliography and notes) is Friday 13th July 2012. Articles should be formatted according to the Social Movement Studies style guide ( and submitted to both and, to whom any queries should be directed.

It is anticipated that the special issue will be published in early 2014.



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National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Saturday November 26th, 9.30 – 6.15

About the conference

This conference brings together 21 presenters from Ireland, Britain, Italy, Belgium and the US working on movements ranging from alternative food movements to the World Social Forum, from Shell to Sea to SlutWalks and from Irish Ship to Gaza to children’s rights advocacy. It showcases some of the best work in the field by new, established and independent scholars alike. The conference seeks to encourage real research which does not simply restate common assumptions but tries to make real contributions to wider debates about social movements, the thinking of movement practitioners, and public understanding of the nature of society and democracy.

The keynote speaker, Dr Cristina Flesher Fominaya (University of Aberdeen), has been researching and participating in European social movements since the early 1990s. She has carried out research on anti-globalisation networks, Spanish Green parties and the British anti-roads movement, and is also known for her work on the politics of memory around terrorist attacks such as 3/11 in Madrid and 9/11 in New York. A founding editor of the social movement journal Interface, she is co-chair of the Council for European Studies’ European Social Movements Research Network.


The conference is free and open to the public with no advance booking required. Tea and coffee will be provided but participants should bring their own lunch or buy it in Maynooth. We cannot organise accommodation directly but there are various possible hostels, hotels and B&Bs both in Maynooth and in Dublin. Registration is at the conference from 9.30 on in the Auxilia Building, North Campus (see the map at  – Auxilia is building #47 in the lower right corner). For queries please contact Dr Theresa O’Keefe at 

Overall timings

9.30 – 10: Welcome and registration 

10 – 11: Plenary session. Cristina Flesher Fominaya, “New directions in social movement studies?”

11 – 11.30: Coffee / tea

11.30 – 1: First sessions

1 – 2.15: Lunch

2.15 – 3.45: Second sessions

3.45 – 4.00: Coffee / tea

4.00 – 5.30: Third sessions

5.30 – 6.15: Closing discussion

Draft timetable

Session 1, 11.30 am – 1 pm

(A) Remaking social movements

Silvia Lami (Philosophy, Pisa and U. Chicago) – Re-thinking social movements. Limits of 60s and 70s movements, new perspectives of struggle

Leslie Parraguez Sanchez (Loyola University, Chicago) – Between spatial identities and the Right-to-the-City: a socio-spatial perspective on the reconfiguration of social movements

Theresa O’Keefe (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) – Flaunting our way to freedom? SlutWalks, gendered protest and feminist futures

(B) Exploring new movements

Andre Kenneally (UCC) – Children’s right advocacy as a new social movement

Yafa Shanneik (Study of Religions, UCC) – Irish women converting to Islam: a new post-secular movement?

(C) Research / methodology

Jean Bridgeman (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) – Spaces for new knowledge: working class community education for social change 

Anna Szolucha (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) – The tyranny of sociology: a case for an interdisciplinary social movement research

Session 2, 2.15 – 3.45 pm

(D) Agency and power

Geoffrey Pleyers (FNRS-Université Catholique de Louvain & CADIS-EHESS Paris)- The global justice movement and beyond: two paths for social agency

Laurence Davis (Independent scholar) – The Irish Ship to Gaza and the revolutions of our time

Amanda Slevin (Sociology, UCD) – Pipelines, politics and power: Shell to Sea and the Irish state

(E) The politics of new media

Margaret Gillan (Community Media Network) – Building working-class media (provisional title)

Asia Rutkowska (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) – Activists on the web: analysing the content of social centre webpages

Paul Candon (Sociology, TCD) – The emerging digital public sphere in Ireland: how old habits die hard

Session 3, 4 – 5.30 pm

(F) Mapping Irish social movements

Laurence Cox (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) – Gramsci in Mayo: a Marxist perspective on social movements in Ireland

Peter Lacey (Anthropology, NUI Maynooth) – EU-critical movements and Irish social activism

(G) Advocacy and institutionalisation

Orla O’Donovan (Applied Social Studies, UCC) – Irish patients’ movements on the move to Europe

Pauline Cullen (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) – Mobilization on women’s interests at the EU: femocrats and feminist political practice

(H) Troubles within movements

Andrea Rigon (Sociology, TCD and Institute of Development Studies, Nairobi) – The tyranny of structurelessness: unequal power relations in the governance of the World Social Forum process

David Landy (Sociology, TCD) – Researching splits

Aisling Murtagh (Food business and development, UCC) – The power dynamics of alternative food initiatives in Ireland


Centre for Politics, Power and Society, Department of Sociology, NUI Maynooth
Research Cluster “Critical Political Thought, Activism and Alternative Futures”


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