Call for Papers

Research Network on Social Movements
European Sociological Association
Fifth European Conference of Sociology
August 28 - September 1, 2001
University of Helsinki, Finland.

The Research Network on Social Movements of the European Sociological Association invites proposals for papers to be presented at the Fifth European Conference of Sociology on August 28 - September 1, 2001 at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

We are planning to run six panels. Four will explicitly relate to the general conference theme, Visions and Divisions, while two will be left open in order to accomodate interesting proposals which do not fit into the main topics. We welcome paper submissions on any topic of relevance to the study of collective action and social movements broadly defined, but we are particularly interested in contributions addressing one of the following thematic areas:

1. After Seattle: The globalization of collective action

Last year's events in Seattle and more in general the recurrent campaigns against the IMF and the World Bank's activities has only made more urgent a discussion of the implications of globalization processes for patterns of collective action. Are recent developments anticipating the overcoming of traditional national divisions and the emergence of a global public sphere? What is the specific role of participatory social movement politics going to be in the new context, as opposed to other forms of professionalized - if occasionally radical - political action? What is the potential for the growth of transnational collective identities and movement communities bridging previously distant actors?

2. Social movement studies East and West

Social movement research on former socialist countries in Eastern Europe has flourished in the last ten years. Now that the amount of published material on the 1989 revolutions has become conspicuous, it is perhaps the time for a re-assessment of what has been achieved. In particular, we would appreciate contributions which critically discuss the application of Western social movement theory to processes which have developed in very different contexts to the ones that originally inspired our "toolbox". What has been the analytical and the intellectual payoff of these attempts? Have Western concepts and methods "travelled well"? What are the major lessons we can take from recent achievements of social movement analysis in Eastern Europe?

3. "Distasteful" movements

Research in social movements is still overwhelmingly devoted to "tasty" movements, i.e., movements that researchers feel sympathetic with. Given the dominant views in the social movements community, anti-democratic, racist, xenophobic, and illiberal movements are still under researched. The neglect is, however, being remedied and we invite contributions from colleagues who are conducting, or have conducted, research in these and related areas. Once again the main questions are both empirical and theoretical: what does recent research tell us about the real consistence and dominant traits of these phenomena? And how adequate are our analytical tools to their understanding?

4. Social movement research and third sector research

Academic research is as much and possibly more fragmented and balkanized than real societies. This session aims at opening a dialogue between researchers on social movements and researchers focusing on voluntary organizations and third sector dynamics at large. Although largely indifferent to each other, the two traditions actually share more than occasional concepts and approaches. The session should contribute to a process of cross-fertilization which is both desirable and long overdue.

5-6. Open sessions

Submissions are encouraged from any subfield of social movement research.

Please send abstracts of your paper (maximum 250 words) or any request for additional information, preferably by e-mail, before 31 January 2001, to

Mario Diani
Department of Government
University of Strathclyde
16, Richmond St.
Glasgow G1 1XQ

Phone: +44 141 5482733
Fax: +44 141 5525677

NB: Colleagues interested in the Social movement research and third sector research panel should also send abstracts to the panel co-organizer, Dr Martti Muukkonen (e-mail:

Registration should be sent to the conference secretariat, preferably by internet:
or by e-mail:
or by regular mail:

ESA Conference,
CongCreator, P.O.Box 762,
FIN 00101, Helsinki. Finland.

Tel +358-9-4542 190, fax +358-9-4542 1930.