CfP: SM&C Special Edition on “Social Movements of the Global South – Methodological and Theoretical Considerations”

The journal Social Movements and Change (SM&C)‘s special edition on “Social Movements of the Global South – Methodological and Theoretical Considerations” holds an open call for papers. This journal is launched by the RC 47 Research Committee (Social Classes and Social Movements) of the International Sociological Association (ISA).

SM&C will focus on socio-cultural and transnational practices, with particular attention paid to the relationship between social actors and society, both at global and local level. Regarding this special edition by Philipp Altmann, Deniz Günce Demirhisar, Jacob Mwathi Mati:

It is a common place among social movement researchers that the major part of social movement theory was built on the model of experiences of the Global North and therefore in tendency Eurocentric. While investigation on social movements in the Global South has been increasing in the last few decades, most of those studies stick to the major theories made in the Global North, in some cases, reducing the scope of them. The theoretical and –as a necessary next step- methodological bias does therefore actively harm research in the major part of the world, turning it in the best case into an application of foreign thought. At the same time, there are some social movement theories that actually were developed from the experiences of the Global South, opening new ways to understand the action of social movements both there and in the Global North. Nevertheless, concepts developed from the experience of social movements of the Global South, such as the approach of “cultural politics” of Sonia Álvarez, Evelina Dagnino and Arturo Escobar (1998), or the introduction of the factor distance by Diane Davis (1999), are not sufficiently integrated into social movement studies. Instead, they have been relegated to approaches identified with cultural studies (and not sociology and political studies) or simply ignored.

Moreover, Global South and Global North do not necessarily refer to a rigid dichotomy between geographic areas and historically established power structures. These expressions could be also understood as intermediate conceptual tools in order to investigate what is really global in the recent waves of protest and indignation all over the world, especially since 2011.

Beyond comparisons or correlations, the concept of resonance (Khasnabish 2007; Pleyers and Glasuis 2013) has a great heuristic value for the actual global configuration of social movements. For instance, what motivates a young activist of Gezi Movement while referring to the Zapatistas, Indignados, Occupy Wall Street or Tahrir Square? How do the social actors invent their activism practices by combining the peculiarities of their very local context and the transnational common struggles i.e. against the global finance capitalism as well as ecological destruction? What are the emotions and subjectivities that are transversal to the social movements of our era? To what extent, do the reticular forms of power result in networks of outrage and hope (Castells 2012)?

This thematic edition aims to bring together research on social movements worldwide that break with the Eurocentric bias of social movement theory and try to develop both theories and methodologies apt to understand action, discourse or outcomes of social movements in the Global South. In this attempt could enter the question to what extent the Eurocentric bias has reduced the scope of research on social movements of the Global South and new experiences in the Global North, how this effect did influence prior research and which alternatives have been undertaken. The main focus should be the development of alternative theories and/or methodologies that reflect the experiences of the Global South and the new ones in the Global North in a better way. In order to engage in this academic work from a legitimized and credible standpoint, it is necessary to integrate researchers from all parts of the world that research social movements in the Global South, putting special emphasis on a considerable representation of Africa, Latin America and Asia.


Alvarez, Sonia/Dagnino, Evelina/Escobar, Arturo (1998) (eds.): Cultures of Politics/Politics of Cultures. Re-visioning Latin American Social Movements, Boulder: Westview Press.
Castells, Manuel (2012): Networks of Outrage and Hope. Social Movements in the Internet Age, Cambridge: Polity Press
Davis, Diane (1999): The Power of Distance: Re-Theorizing Social Movements in Latin America, Theory and Society 28 (5): 585-638.
Khasnabish, Alex (2007): Insurgent imaginations in Ephemera 7 (4): 505-525
Pleyers, Geoffrey / Glasius, Marlies (2013): La résonance des « mouvements des places » connexions, émotions, valeurs in Socio 1 (2): 59-79.

Deadline for Abstracts (350 words): 15.12.2015

E-mail submissions to Deniz Günce Demirhisar (Co-Editor of SM&C) :

Further information can be found here.

1 Response to “CfP: SM&C Special Edition on “Social Movements of the Global South – Methodological and Theoretical Considerations””

  1. 1  “Social Movements of the Global South – Methodological and Theoretical Considerations” | Recolectora de Historias Trackback en 7 diciembre, 2015 de 16:10


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