Introduction: Non-western social movements and participatory democracy in the age of transnationalism
Players and Arenas aims at promoting the strategic interaction perspective (SIP)—a theoretical effort to bridge the gap between the structural paradigm and cultural theories in political sociology and social movements studies. Structural approaches seek to establish causal links between relatively stable factors (features of the political and economic environment) and a movement’s emergence and success. The most influential of the structural approaches is political process theory, with its core concept of political opportunity (McAdam, McCarthy, and Zald 1996). Cultural theories call for more attention to emotions, morality, and choices made by protestors, claiming that these can help protesters recognize and create political opportunities for their movement’s development, thus allowing for more agency of movement actors.
When the Iron Curtain lifted in 1989 it was seen by some as proof of the final demise of the ideas and aspirations of the radical left. Not many years passed, however, before the critique of capitalism and social inequalities were once again the main protest themes of social movements. This book provides an account of radical left movements in today’s Europe and how they are trying to accomplish social and political change. The book’s various chapters focus on social movement organizations, activist groups, and networks that are rooted in the left-wing ideologies of anarchism, Marxism, socialism, and communism in both newly democratized post-communist and longstanding liberal-democratic polities. The questions addressed include: How are radical left movements influenced by the political and social contexts in which they are situated? How do they interact with other political actors? How does contemporary radical left activism differ from “new” and “old” social movements on the one hand, and radical left parliamentary parties on the other? And what does it mean to be ”radical left” in liberal-democratic (or semi-democratic, or even semi-authoritarian), capitalist European societies today after the fall of state socialism.
The 1905-1907 Revolution in the Kingdom of Poland – Articulation of Political Subjectivities Among Workers
The Gezi protests in 2013 were the largest urban resistance in the history of modern Turkey, both in terms of their intensity and the number of participants. They revitalized grassroots movements, further polarized the already-divided Turkish society, altered the political landscape, and sent shock waves among the incumbent elite who believed they were ruling without serious public opposition until the protests. The trajectory of the regime and the elite survival strategies profoundly changed after 2013 to meet this new challenge.
The protest publics model proposes a new theoretical framework for examining this emerging protest pattern, which can also shed light on our understanding of the Gezi events. In this chapter, the Gezi protests will be analyzed under the analytical framework of protest publics. First, I will show why this framework is appropriate for understanding the Gezi protests. Secondly, I will briefly discuss the political outcomes of these events by focusing on the transformative potential of protest publics in semi-authoritarian settings.
Current predictive models of collective action have devoted little attention to personal values, such as morals or ideology. The present research addresses this issue by incorporating a new axiological path in a novel predictive model of collective action, named AICAM. The axiological path is formed by two constructs: ideology and moral obligation. The model has been tested for real normative participation (Study 1) and intentional non-normative participation (Study 2). The sample for Study 1 included 531 randomly selected demonstrators and non-demonstrators at the time of a protest that took place in Madrid, May 2017. Study 2 comprised 607 randomly selected participants who filled out an online questionnaire. Structural equation modelling analysis was performed in order to examine the fit and predictive power of the model. Results show that the model is a good fit in both studies. It has also been observed that the new model entails a significant addition of overall effect size when compared with alternative models, including SIMCA. The present research contributes to the literature of collective action by unearthing a new, independent path towards collective action that is nonetheless compatible with previous motives. Implications for future research are discussed, mainly stressing the need to include moral and ideological motives in the study of collective action engagement.
In the late 2000s, a number of analysts were optimistic about Brazil’s future. Their expectant analyses did not bear out, however, as a political and economic crisis developed just as Brazil was gearing up to host two mega-events, the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. This paper has two aims. The first is to deepen our understanding of the crisis through examining one of the foremost social actors to emerge in this period: the Landless Workers’ Movement (Movimento de Trabalhadores Sem-Teto, MTST). The second is to use this case to consider the potential for the sociology of critical capacity—a field of theory that emerged out of the Political and Moral Sociology Research Group in Paris in the 1980s—to contribute to theorising the ‘justification work’ of movements and protest publics.
Miscommunicating Social Change analyzes the discourses of three social movements and the alternative media associated with them, revealing that the Enlightenment narrative, though widely critiqued in academia, remains the dominant way of conceptualizing social change in the name of democratization in the post-Soviet terrain. The main argument of this book is that the “progressive” imaginary, which envisages progress in the unidirectional terms of catching up with the “more advanced” Western condition, is inherently anti-democratic and deeply antagonistic. Instead of fostering an inclusive democratic process in which all strata of populations holding different views are involved, it draws solid dividing frontiers between “progressive” and “retrograde” forces, deepening existing antagonisms and provoking new ones; it also naturalizes the hierarchies of the global neocolonial/neoliberal power of the West. Using case studies of the “White Ribbons” social movement for fair elections in Russia (2012), the Ukrainian Euromaidan (2013–2014), and anti-corruption protests in Russia organized by Alexei Navalny (2017) and drawing on the theories of Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and Nico Carpetntier, this book shows how “progressive” articulations by the social movements under consideration ended up undermining the basis of the democratic public sphere through the closure of democratic space.
This paper addresses the conceptual problem of defining the origin, the structure and social foundations of massive and lasting peaceful street protests, which appeared spontaneously at the beginning of the new millennia in countries with very different levels of public wealth and socio-political development. Driven by different reasons, addressing different targets, these mass street actions have many common features that allow us to consider them a single phenomenon, which we define as a new type of social engagement, distinguished both from civil society organizations and social movements. This type of engagement is characterized by the formation and activities of protest publics, which can have deep and lasting impact on both society and policy process by transforming the public sphere through changing dominant public discourses. Such activities are largely based on a common demand of an ethical nature that can bring together many diverse social groups and mini-publics, focused on particular clusters of issues. The paper explores self-organized publics as collective social actors with unique features and capacities. It also develops a conceptual frame for protest event analysis as manifestations of protest publics, which allows us to identify the type of specific public assembled for each event, its “qualities of actorness” and its transformative potential. This conceptual frame is then applied to reconstruct the “Bolotnaya actions” in Moscow and the protests against construction of the Gazprom office tower in St. Petersburg, which makes it possible to compare the types of publics that were involved in those protests. The results include suggestions and theorizing protest actions based on the qualities of protest publics.