Epistemological Assumptions of the Sociology of Social Movements and Social Theory
This session seeks to analyze the epistemological assumptions of the sociology of social movements in order to discuss the matrices of thought that have contributed to configure the so called "social movements theories".
The founders of sociology discussed movements, protests, struggles, conflicts, mobs, unions, association and revolution (Stein, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, Tarde…). Sociology continued to pay attention to social movements when discussing societies and its changes. Many social theories payed attention to movements and some gave them a central role (Parsons, Luhmann, Eisenstadt, Wallerstein, Foucault, Habermas, Touraine, Castells, Melucci, Giddens, Beck, Bauman, Honneth, Urry...). This linkage had been weakened through the middle-range-theorization of movement studies after 1990s and the specialization and subdivision of sociology itself.
Recently we can see the moves to reconstruct the linkage between the social theories and movement studies like Social Theory and Social Movements: Mutual Inspirations (2014) and Global Modernity and Social Contestation (2015). Behind these, there could be the uprising of movements like Arab spring, Occupy movements, and globalization of alt-right movements, and the criticism toward “acritically” extensions of Western-centered theories into non-Western societies. In Asia, we also hear the dissatisfactions about dominant middle-range theory of movements and the necessity to revitalize theoretical research and relativize Western-centered theories. This session would like to ask the presentations which reconstruct the linkage: the research about social movement theory, about the positioning of movements in the social theory by theorists described above, and about the relations between various theories and movements.