Methods of social movement research: new developments and recurring questions
September 15–16, 2022, Berlin
How can we research protests and social movements? Which methods are necessary and appropriate to learn about the emergence and development of protests, about motivations and attitudes of activists, about the reverberations that social movements have in society, or about the consequences that engagement in social movements has for individuals and for social structures?
These and other methodological questions have preoccupied social movement research for as long as it has existed, and the answers to these questions have changed over time. Simultaneously, the possibilities for researching protests and social movements have also changed. New technologies allow us to collect different data or analyze data in ways that promise new insights. Interviews using online videoconferencing software, quantitative analysis of social media posts, or machine learning for qualitative analysis of large amounts of text are just a few examples here.
But it’s not only about research methods in a narrow sense. Debates about social movement research methods are also about research ethics: How can and should movement researchers deal with the risk of endangering activists in repressive regimes? To what extent should social movement research use its knowledge to serve those being researched? May social movement researchers collaborate with state actors, for example, in order to curtails violent social movements? To what extent may a researcher identify with his/her subject, how much distance is necessary? How is it possible to research protest actors who are skeptical or even hostile towards researchers?
The aim of the annual conference will be to explore these and similar questions from different disciplinary perspectives and in the context of current research projects.
We invite the submission of abstracts for papers of no more than 500 words or outlines for other presentation formats by April 10, 2022 to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial support for travel and accommodation costs may be available for a limited number of participants who do not have their own research funds. If you would like to be considered for such a grant, please let us know when submitting your abstract. We plan to publish a Special Issue with selected conference papers after the conference.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at: email@example.com
The conference organizing team
Sebastian Haunss, Priska Daphi, Piotry Kochyba, Larissa Meier & Jan Matti Dollbaum