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Call for Proposals to the International Workshop « Social Movements and Contentious Politics in the Arab World: Diffusion, Practices, Organizations, and Political Dimensions »
Appel à propositions pour l’atelier de recherche « Mouvements sociaux et politique contestataire dans le monde arabe : diffusion, pratiques, organisations et dimensions politiques »
Paris Dauphine, 27 et 28 avril 2017

Organized by/Organisé par Choukri Hmed and Hèla Yousfi (Paris Dauphine), Maha AbdelRahman (Cambridge University), John Chalcraft (LSE), Niluger Göle (EHESS). Support: Global Studies Institute, Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University.

Summary: Globalization, while perpetuating old forms of domination, has led to renewed forms of work as well as new control mechanisms and configurations of labor and power relations. Recent events in the Arab world such as the ‘Arab Spring’ remind us that faced with the diversification of forms and places of power, new political contestations, activisms, revolutionary situations and collective resistances are emerging, materialized in the form of situated social movements. At the same time, in each specific context, power relations are affected by multiple dialectics between existing repertoires of action and domination, existing institutions and established strategies of resistance on one side and the emergence of new forms of dominant power, contentious politics and collective actions on the other side. These dialectics between old and new forms, construction and deconstruction, and strategies and counter-strategies, suggests the centrality of the interconnections between established actors and organizations on one side and the social movements and challengers on the other side for exploring the new emergent phe- nomena. The goals of this international workshop to be held within the research cluster « Glo- balisation of Politics » at the IRIS Global Studies is to stimulate innovative studies of move- ment dynamics in a variety of political, geographic and economic settings, coming from dif- ferent disciplines, and to develop the conceptual foundations, frameworks and methods for analyzing the intersection between movements, organizations and institutional change in a global perspective.

Résumé : Les différentes situations révolutionnaires produites dans l’ensemble du monde arabe depuis 2011 ont montré l’importance des mouvements sociaux et des mobilisations, mais également des organi- sations, qu’elles soient émergentes ou anciennes. La simultanéité de ces mobilisations et la diffu- sion des répertoires et des modes d’action dans un cadre régional et global ont également été souli- gnées. Si ces situations ne se sont pas partout transformées en résultats révolutionnaires, il reste que, six ans plus tard, les mouvements sociaux n’ont pas totalement disparu pour laisser place à une hypothétique « restauration autoritaire ». On assiste ainsi dans l’ensemble du monde arabe à l’émergence différenciée selon les contextes d’une dialectique entre anciennes et nouvelles formes de mobilisation, construction et déconstruction des collectifs, stratégies et contre-stratégies d’indi- vidus et de groupes face à la domination. L’atelier international que nous proposons dans le cadre de l’axe « Globalisation du Politique » de l’IRIS Etudes Globales vise ainsi à rendre compte, au moyen d’enquêtes empiriques, de la réalité de ces mobilisations et de ces organisations — labiles ou plus institutionnalisées — et à explorer les méthodes et les concepts permettant de mieux saisir les intersections entre mouvements, organisations et changement institutionnel dans une perspective globale.

Deadlines :
➢ Proposals/abstracts of 1000 words describing fieldwork, research question and topic area are due for January, 31st, 2017.
➢ Decision for acceptance to the workshop should be communicated by the organizers to the authors latest by 20 February, 2017.
➢ The deadline for full papers submission is 15 April, 2017.

Please send your proposal to/Envoyez vos propositions à choukri.hmed@dauphine.fr et hela.yousfi@dauphine.fr

Full Description:
General framework
Globalization, while perpetuating old forms of domination, has led to renewed forms of work as well as new control mechanisms and configurations of labor and power relations. Recent events in the Arab world such as the ‘Arab Spring’ remind us that faced with the diversification of forms and places of power, new political contestations, activisms and collective resistances are emerging, materialized in the form of situated social movements. At the same time, in each specific context, power relations are affected by multiple dialectics between existing repertoires of action (Tilly, 2004) and domination, existing institutions and established strategies of resistance on one side and the emergence of new forms of dominant power, contentious politics and collective actions on the other side.
These dialectics between old and new forms, construction and deconstruction, and strategies and counter-strategies, suggests the centrality of the interconnections between established actors and organizations on one side and the social movements and challengers on the other side for exploring the new emergent phenomena. Organizations are becoming more movement like and politicized while movements are more likely to borrow strategies from organizations. For instance, although young unemployed people played particularly important role in Cairo, Tunis and elsewhere, and led the way in the use of social and citizen media, organizations such as ‘UGTT” (Tunisian General Labor Union) in Tunisia (Yousfi, 2015) or the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (Vannetzel, 2016) are crucial to understand the dynamics of the so called “spontaneous” uprisings as well as the current political transition processes. The UGTT has historically been an area of convergence for militant trade unionism and the struggle against the dictatorial political regime. Involved from the start of the uprising in Sidi Bouzid on 17 December 2010, its members have organized rallies, marches and regional general strikes in various regions and have played a central role in the transition process in Tunisia, especially during the occupation of Kasbah Square (January-February 2011) (Hmed, 2016) and the National Dialogue (2012-13, see Yousfi, 2015). The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has years of organizational and administrative experience, as well as nationwide networks. It has provided free and subsidized goods and services and its members are influential in professional syndicates and trade unions. As such, they illustrate the importance of established organizational structures, traditional partisanships and leaderships as well as the connections between formal and informal institutions. Conversely, these organizations, which are dialectically affected by the emergent social movements and the coming of a new political elite, are playing a growing role in mediating the so- called « political transitions » (constitutional assembly or legislative elections, development of transitional justice, etc.), but also during authoritarian consolidation as in Egypt. They are the key players in converting primary revolutionary situations into revolutionary outcomes and institutionalized processes, as well as in leading transactions between state, social movements and formal/informal institutions (Tilly, 1978; Hmed, 2016).
By comparison, the current situation and power asymmetry between the state apparatus and the continuous uprising in Syria show that a lack of previous, historical and structural organizational and oppositional structures — trade-unions, Human Rights movements and « civil society », legal or illegal opposition political parties — could undermine the capacities of social movements to overthrow authoritarian regimes.
These series of paradoxes, contradictions and interactions — between the renewal of collective mobilizations modes and action repertoires in the MENA region (for the case of Egypt, see Abdelrahman, 2015) and the long-term established organizational structures — could constitute one of the key questions for social sciences in the next coming period, in order to « pay attention to initiative, agency, appropriation, attribution and the like, and (in the other side) (…) to the solidity of pre-existing forms of organization, structure, objective opportunity » (Chalcraft, 2016 : 6).
Goals of the workshop
In addition to a focus on the state and the formal political environment in more traditional political economy approaches, researchers have recently begun to examine the intersection of social movements and organizations (e.g., Davis et al., 2005; McAdam, Tarrow & Tilly, 2001). Others have pointed out the historicity of the relations between social movements and institutionalized politics in the Arab world (Chalcraft, 2016; Vairel, 2014). We believe that much theoretical and empirical work lies ahead to put this budding area of research on more solid ground. This involves a need to better situate the interplay of movements, organizations and political institutions in perspectives that pay more attention to larger historical and societal structures, a more careful theorization of how movement activity impinges on central organizational and institutional processes, and a more comprehensive perspective built on fieldwork research. The goals of this workshop is to (a) stimulate innovative studies of movement dynamics in a variety of political, geographic and economic settings, (b) develop the conceptual foundations, frameworks and methods for analyzing the intersection between movements, organizations and institutional change in a global perspective.
We invite theoretical and empirical papers from scholars interested in these issues and are agnostic about epistemological and ontological perspectives. We especially welcome papers that are situated in diverse geographies and disciplinary traditions (political science, sociology, anthropology, history, geography), but firmly based on concrete fieldwork. We conceive of social movements as loosely organized coalitions that challenge social, economic and cultural practices or structures through sustained mobilization. We treat the category of organization broadly to include organized collective action of all types ranging from corporations and trade unions and interest groups to political parties.

Key questions and topic areas
The following is a list of indicative, but not exhaustive, topic areas, all of which could be addressed in different geographical spheres in MENA region that have witnessed recent social uprisings:
1. Social Lineages of Protest Emergence and Diffusion:
a. How did social movements and protest circulate through different social groups and transitionally between Arab countries, and how could we identify the role of groups of individuals, social networks or abeyance structures in this diffusion?
b. Why did social movements emerge when and where they did, and how have demands been sequenced/ prioritized and informed by waves of protest and counter-measures (e.g. the importance of histories of mobilisation; the role of independent, citizen and new media)?
c. History, society and institutions: Movements and changes in the relationship between civil society and organizations. What role can state and societal institutions play in challenging established ‘scripts’ of political change, and as agents of transformation?
d. Engagement and disengagement, mobilization and demobilization: how to figure out the converse waves of mobilization and demobilization and their individual and collective consequences, as well as the formation of abeyance structures and abeyance networks after the backlash of contention in different spaces?
e. Civic engagement: Collective mobilization around notions of citizenship, democracy, rights and duties in organizations and dynamics outside organizations.
2. OrganizationalIssues:
a. What were the organizational forms and coalitions of actors that drove the social movements and what new identities and political opportunities have been created by the collective action of this period? What is the role of both new and old forms of organizing in driving and contesting change?
b. Identities, networks and audiences: Interplay of movements with organizational identities, images, and reputations; how movement work with each other and their relationships with other organizational audiences, including analysts, politicians, and the media.
c. Participation, resistance, subversion and cooptation: Organizations as participants, targets and opponents in movements.
3. The local and the global: Local, national and transnational mobilization in the face of local, national and transnational organizations; postcolonial, development and indigenous perspectives; the politics of economic globalization.
4. Regime change: Origins of critique and transformation of political and economic regimes; movement processes in the creation of institutional alternatives and organizational heterogeneity. How can transformative change occur in the context of political transition and which actors, institutions and structures drive and contest such change? What are the priorities for change of the most marginalized, whether or not they took part in protests? How is their participation shaping (or not) the transition process?
6. The ultimate goal of this workshop is to offer a forum for fresh perspectives on the transformative change processes occurring in the MENA region especially in light of the social-political upheavals. We hope the workshop will advance our understanding of the contemporary MENA political and socio economic challenges while simultaneously offering important theoretical insights into the dynamic of social movements of one of the most troubled region in the world.

PhD Students coming from Arab world: please notice that airfare and stay costs could be refunded by the workshop.

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