Monday, 17 October 2011

Social movements conference at Maynooth

“New agendas in social movement studies”

NUI Maynooth, Saturday November 26th, 9.30 - 6.15

About the conference

This conference brings together 21 researchers from Ireland, Britain, Italy, Belgium and the US working on movements ranging from alternative food movements to the World Social Forum, from Shell to Sea to SlutWalks and from Irish Ship to Gaza to children’s rights advocacy. It showcases some of the best work in the field by new, established and independent scholars alike. The conference seeks to encourage real research which does not simply restate common assumptions but tries to make real contributions to wider debates about social movements, the thinking of movement practitioners, and public understanding of the nature of society and democracy.

The keynote speaker, Dr Cristina Flesher Fominaya (University of Aberdeen), has beenresearching and participating in European social movements since the early 1990s. She has carried out research on anti-globalisation networks, Spanish Green parties and the British anti-roads movement, and is also known for her work on the politics of memory around terrorist attacks such as 3/11 in Madrid and 9/11 in New York. A founding editor of the social movement journal Interface, she is co-chair of the Council for European Studies’ European Social Movements Research Network.


The conference is free and open to the public with no advance booking required. Tea and coffee will be provided but participants should bring their own lunch or buy it in Maynooth. We cannot organise accommodation directly but there are various possible hostels, hotels and B&Bs both in Maynooth and in Dublin. Registration is at the conference from 9.30 on in the Auxilia Building, North Campus (see the map at  - Auxilia is building #47 in the lower right corner). For queries please contact Dr Theresa O’Keefe at


Overall timings

9.30 - 10        Welcome and registration
10 - 11            Plenary session. Cristina Flesher Fominaya, “New directions in social movement studies?”
11 - 11.30       Coffee / tea
11.30 - 1         First sessions
1 - 2.15           Lunch
2.15 – 3.45    Second sessions
3.45 - 4.00    Coffee / tea
4.00 – 5.30   Third sessions
5.30 - 6.15     Closing discussion


Draft timetable

Session 1, 11.30 am - 1 pm

(A) Remaking social movements
Silvia Lami (Philosophy, Pisa and U. Chicago) - Re-thinking social movements. Limits of 60s and 70s movements, new perspectives of struggle

Leslie Parraguez Sanchez (Loyola University, Chicago) - Between spatial identities and the Right-to-the-City: a socio-spatial perspective on the reconfiguration of social movements

Theresa O’Keefe (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) - Flaunting our way to freedom? SlutWalks, gendered protest and feminist futures

(B) Exploring new movements
Andre Kenneally (UCC) - Children’s right advocacy as a new social movement

Yafa Shanneik (Study of Religions, UCC) - Irish women converting to Islam: a new post-secular movement?

(C) Research / methodology
Jean Bridgeman (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) - Spaces for new knowledge: working class community education for social change

Anna Szolucha (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) - The tyranny of sociology: a case for an interdisciplinary social movement research

Session 2, 2.15 - 3.45 pm

(D) Agency and power
Geoffrey Pleyers (FNRS-Université Catholique de Louvain & CADIS-EHESS Paris)- The global justice movement and beyond: two paths for social agency

Laurence Davis (Independent scholar) - The Irish Ship to Gaza and the revolutions of our time

Amanda Slevin (Sociology, UCD) - Pipelines, politics and power: Shell to Sea and the Irish state

(E) The politics of new media
Margaret Gillan (Community Media Network) - Building working-class media (provisional title)

Asia Rutkowska (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) - Activists on the web: analysing the content of social centre webpages

Paul Candon (Sociology, TCD) - The emerging digital public sphere in Ireland: how old habits die hard

Session 3, 4 - 5.30 pm

(F) Mapping Irish social movements
Laurence Cox (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) - Gramsci in Mayo: a Marxist perspective on social movements in Ireland

Peter Lacey (Anthropology, NUI Maynooth) - EU-critical movements and Irish social activism

(G) Advocacy and institutionalisation
Orla O’Donovan (Applied Social Studies, UCC) - Irish patients’ movements on the move to Europe

Pauline Cullen (Sociology, NUI Maynooth) - Mobilization on women’s interests at the EU: femocrats and feminist political practice

(H) Troubles within movements
Andrea Rigon (Sociology, TCD and Institute of Development Studies, Nairobi) - The tyranny of structurelessness: unequal power relations in the governance of the World Social Forum process

David Landy (Sociology, TCD) - Researching splits

Aisling Murtagh (Food business and development, UCC) - The power dynamics of alternative food initiatives in Ireland

Centre for Politics, Power and Society, Dept. of Sociology, NUI Maynooth 

Research cluster “Critical Political Thought, Activism and Alternative Futures”