mercoledì 7 gennaio 2015

From Multitude to crowds in social movements - Lisbona 26-27 gennaio 2015

From Multitude to Crowds in Social Movements – publics, gatherings, networks and media in the 21th century Lisbon, monday and tuesday, 26 and 27 January 2015 An International Conference hosted by the Catholic University of Portugal in a CECC/CECL co-organization.

There has always been, in human history, collective action taken by ordinary people. The 19th and 20th centuries were a period of political affirmation of social groups and the concomitant emergence of social movements as collective endeavors to promote political and social change in any direction and by different means (Borch, 2012). This period saw the rise of the social movement in the sense of a set of people who deliberately commit themselves to a shared identity, a unifying belief, a common program and a collective struggle to prosecute that program of social action.

In the 21st century there has been a transformation of the traditional forms of action. Indeed, the repertoire of collective action (Tilly and Wood, 2009) has changed as the organization and public recognition are different in a time when the relevance of the media in social and political relations invites new orders of functioning. The revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests, riots, and civil wars in the Arab world beginning on 18th December 2010 are an illustrative case. The Arab Spring had in communication tools, such as the Internet and social networks, a key factor for social mobilization and socio-political demands (Khondker, 2011). The same occurred in Portugal, Greece and Spain with social protests related to the global financial and economic crisis. Social networks were vital to the coordination of national and international collective actions, while traditional media such as television or the press were essential for the public recognition of their causes.

Even if recent technological changes put social actors in a global network society (Castells, 2009), that does not necessarily erase the need for a topological experience (with its physical and emotional aspects) (Collins, 2001). Social movements and publics still need to gather in crowds to reach their collective dynamics. So, how to characterize the reciprocal influence of multitudes, publics and crowds?

The International Conference “From Multitude to Crowds in Social Movements – publics, gatherings, networks and media in the 21th century” aims to discuss media relevance on present-day social movements and if and how collective action is being transformed in contemporary mediatized societies (Adolf, 2011; Burton, 2010). How should we think the relation between mediatization and public experience? What is the symbolic meaning attached to the occupation of public spaces such as streets, plazas or official premises? How do social movements’ commitment to change (Tilly, 1977) use social media to establish a unified system of belief? How do they relate to the “crisis of representation” in contemporary social and political systems? What is the place of crowds in social movements? What is the relation between multitudes, crowds and publics? How do publics engage in “public action regimes” (Cefaï and Pasquier, 2003)? How are Sociology, Political Science and Communication Sciences reacting to the new developments in social organization and public expression?

This two-day event brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines such as Communication Sciences, Sociology, or Political Science, to offer an updated perspective on the ways notions of multitude, crowds, social movements and media intersect. It proposes to study social movements repertoires and how social groups are led to adapt, improvise and invent new ones under the social constraints imposed by the use or presence of media.

A Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Conference comprehending the following keywords: Social Movements Studies; Media Studies; Political Communication; Social Networks; Media Events; Public Sphere; Social Movements Sociology; Sociology of the Publics; Crowds; Multitudes; Social Psychology; Social Policy and Law.

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