Critical Patterns in the Construction of Contemporary Social Movements

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Paola REBUGHINI, University of Milan, Italy
Social movements have been considered as the main actors of social change the more visible agents of a critical attitude in front of ‘what exists’ and the promoters of practices of ‘what it could be’. Yet, such critical attitude of social movements is not explicitly theorized since a very long time and social movements around the world have been mainly empirically and descriptively investigated across the issues of democracy, human rights and inclusive citizenship. Indeed, globalization, digitalization, transnational communications, networking activities among mobilizations differentiated in terms of culture, history and politics have fostered a common framing based on empirical observations, rather than on epistemic questioning. Accordingly, central stakes for social movements such as the possibility of ‘critique’ have become problematic and almost abandoned by theorization. In this presentation, I would like take into account both the epistemological and the ontological issues of this situation. On the one hand, there is the question of how we know, we represent, we construct as a theoretical object a social movement, in front of a situation where ‘modern’ and ‘western’ idea of critique and emancipation have been radically deconstructed. On the other hand, there is the question of what we can ontologically include in the practices of a critical mobilization, when digital technology, artefacts and other kind of entities increasingly interact with subjective action.