Course: New perspectives on social movements

Course: New perspectives on social movements and social change, power and resistance
7-9 May 2018

Forum for Civil Society and Social Movement Research, University of Gothenburg
Course Leaders: Professor Håkan Thörn, and Mattias Wahlström

With around 15 researchers studying different forms of social movements, the Department of Sociology and Work Science at the University of Gothenburg is one of the major research environments in Europe in the field. In order to further strengthen the environment, the Forum for Civil Society and Social Movement Research (CSM) was formed in 2011. In 2016, CSM merged with the network RESIST, which was formed by researchers studying different forms of “resistance”. The aims of CSM-RESIST are to develop and deepen our understanding of social movements, resistance, power and social change. RESIST recently founded the international peer review journal Resistance Studies.
Aims of the course: The international field of social movement studies is both extensive and productive. However, contemporary research is dominated by a small number of theoretical approaches and several researchers have voiced a need for theoretical renewal. Current research within CSM-RESIST has contributed to the development of new perspectives that aim to meet this theoretical need, often combined with innovative methodological approaches. In line with this research agenda, the aim of the course is to develop and deepen the participants’ knowledge about (1) new theoretical and methodological perspectives on social movements and resistance; (2) new perspectives on social change and power by studying these phenomena through the lenses of theories about social movements and resistance.
Target group: Doctoral students in social science and humanities with an interest in social movements, power and resistance, conflict, and/or social change.
Time and forms of teaching: Lectures and seminars will be held during three days in May 2018. A paper seminar will be organized in September 2018.
Themes: The following five themes are covered in the course:

  • Social movements and social change: This section focuses on the conceptualization of social movements to theories of social change, re-visiting some of the classical works in light of recent theoretical developments. Teachers: Håkan Thörn, Professor of Sociology and Anton Törnberg, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Gothenburg.
  • The social forms of activism: This section explores the social organization of activism beyond the conventional focus on formal organizations, introducing neo-durkheimian and ethnomethodological perspectives on movement activities such as direct action, meetings and decision making. Teachers: Kerstin Jacobsson, Professor of Sociology and Christoph Haug, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Gothenburg and Åsa Wettergren, Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Governmentality, power and resistance: This section elaborates on the forms and dimensions of repression and governance of resistance and dissent. In addition, we explore how forms of governing are linked to forms of resistance and social movements’ repertoires of action. Teachers: Mona Lilja, Professor of Sociology, Karlstad University. and Mattias Wahlström, Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Discourse, narrative and emotions: methodological reflections: This section focuses on methodological questions, particularly concerning different aspect of the study of movement discourse, importantly including how to “read” emotions in movement text. Teachers: Carl Cassegård, Associate Professor of Sociology, Håkan Thörn, Anton Törnber and Mattias Wahlström
  • Space, place and protest: Space and place are crucial analytical dimensions for understanding the dynamics of protest and popular resistance. This section explores how protest conditions – and is conditioned by – space and place. Teachers: Don Mitchell Professor Professor at the Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University and Miguel Martinez, Professor of Sociology, Uppsala University.

    The course itself is free of charge, but participants need to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.
    Please send us an expression of interest no later than 15 August 2017: mattias.wahlstrom@gu.se
    Final date for registration 1 January 2018: mattias.wahlstrom@gu.se
    Questions to hakan.thorn@gu.se

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