Social Movements Studies Beyond the Core: Theories and Research in Post-Colonial and Post-Socialist Societies

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Laurence COX, Maynooth University, Ireland
Alf NILSEN, University of Agder, Norway
We will present the core argument of Interface special issue dedicated to "Social movement studies beyond the core".

In much of the core, social movement studies are understood as relatively marginal to the central concerns of the social sciences. In much of the postcolonial world in particular, intellectuals and academics have at times had particular concerns with social movements and revolutions – arguably in far deeper ways than in the West, given the impact of anti-colonial movements and the centrality of postcolonial movement struggles in many societies, but also in terms of expectations of intellectuals around social change. In postcolonial India, it is in history and literature that many of the key debates about popular struggles have taken place, and social movement studies’ limited engagement with these fields is its own loss – a gap often made up by postcolonial theorising.

There are both activist and academic traditions of thinking about movements which have fundamentally different histories. Articulating these is a way of challenging the intellectual power relations that automatically place Northwestern thought at the centre, and contributes to the creation of a genuinely global dialogue about social movement experiences and learning.

Actors, intellectuals, ideas, experiences and epistemologies from the South provide insights into their own reality, but also the challenges for democracy and possible emancipation paths in the Global North. We aim at developing research and analyses beyond borders and to fully include sociologists from all regions of the world.