Claiming and Practicing Democracy in Contemporary Social Movements
RC47 Social Classes and Social Movements
Democracy is a central issue in contemporary social movements. In different contexts and therefore in different ways, the main claims and demands concern how “democracy” is practiced. The Arab Spring claims just for democracy in countries with dictatorial regimens. The 15M-indignados movements in Spain, a country immersed in corruption and a socioeconomic crisis, claims for a greater and true democracy through more participatory forms. The student protest #YoSoy132 claims for the democratization of the mass media an afterwards changes in the electoral and political system. Gezi Park Movement denounces the authoritarian regime of Ergoran, the lack of public consultation and the violation of democratic rights. Occupy denounces the lack of real democracy in a world of social inequality that disproportionately benefits a minority. The NuitDebout set out representative democracy as a democracy without choice, in a context of austerity and regression of social rights. There are dozens of examples around the world: Iceland, Hong Kong, Rumania, Brazil, Russia, etc.
At the same time, democracy is practiced in these movements and demonstrations as forms of action and organization. There are some examples of different principles and forms of direct, participatory and horizontal democracy: assemblies, camps, decision-making techniques and actions in local public spaces, different techniques of group management, the rejection of overbearing leadership, etc.
We welcome papers that explore these two dimensions of democracy in contemporary social movements.
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