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The Citizen and the State
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-040-1

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Book part
Publication date: 16 August 2016

Britta Baumgarten

Social movement research often focusses on phases of success and large protest events. By contrast, taking an interest in the question of how organizational change occurs…

Abstract

Social movement research often focusses on phases of success and large protest events. By contrast, taking an interest in the question of how organizational change occurs within social movements, this study points out the importance of phases of low protest activity. The organizational structure of the Portuguese anti-austerity protests provides a thought-provoking case, as large protests organized by civil society actors other than the trade unions were a novelty in 2011. Furthermore, there are long periods of absence of large protests, and the organizational structure of the protests has undergone significant changes. Based on fieldwork in Portugal between September 2011 and March 2013, I differentiate between four phases in the organization of protests against austerity. I argue that it is mainly times of low degrees of activism – times that are rarely taken into account by social movement research – that lead to radical changes in the organizational structure of a social movement. The impact of the following factors on the direction of change is analyzed: (a) strategic choice; (b) values and normative commitments; (c) (potential) alliances and participants; (d) inspiration from other cases of social movement activism; and (e) learning processes, the history of social movements and the impact of memory.

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Narratives of Identity in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-078-7

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Book part
Publication date: 4 July 2019

Elizabeth Wheat

In a democratic system such as the United States, freedom of expression and free speech are core values in the Constitution and fiercely protected by civil liberties…

Abstract

In a democratic system such as the United States, freedom of expression and free speech are core values in the Constitution and fiercely protected by civil liberties organizations and advocates. The Supreme Court has consistently upheld the right to protest and to express what may be considered unpopular or dissenting opinions. However, the right does not extend to incitement of violence and the state is authorized to protect the safety of citizens. One of the most recent movements challenging the country’s recognition of freedom of expression has been the alt-right/white nationalist movement, particularly Richard Spencer who is a vocal white supremacist and president of the National Policy Institute. A number of universities such as Auburn University, Texas A&M, the University of Florida, and Michigan State University recently found themselves in the middle of a free speech and expression event versus the potential for political violence situation because of the rhetoric of Spencer’s White Lives Matter campus tour and possibility of protests or counter-protests following his speeches. This invites the question of to what extent a university can ban controversial speakers out of concern for violence and when must they allow controversial speech? The chapter will start by looking at state control of political protests and speech in the United States and then how similar dissent is addressed in other countries.

Internationally, dissent is often handled differently with much less tolerance and often a more confrontational response by the state. For example, following the Arab Spring and passage of restrictive laws to prohibit influencing public opinion, Saudi Arabia has seen a rise in political arrests as the state uses its authority to suppress political competitors and consolidate power. The State Security Agency, overseen by the king, claimed in September 2017 that a group of academics, scholars, writers, and leading Islamist figures were inciting violence and called for their arrest. This wave of arrests along with several prior ones and state exercise of media control, exemplifies Saudi Arabia’s desire to suppress dissent by exercising state control. In Venezuela, a law prohibiting messages of hate from being transmitted via broadcast and social media was passed, carrying a possible sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted. The Assembly claimed the law was intended to promote “peace, tolerance, equality, and respect,” but it has been criticized for suppressing extremist sectors of right-wing political groups in the country. Additional case studies of Uganda’s use of military forces to control public outcry over corruption and deteriorating public services will also be evaluated.

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Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-049-9

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Article
Publication date: 13 January 2021

Jessika Eichler and Sumit Sonkar

The CoViD-19 pandemic has brought about a panoply of institutional challenges both domestically and in the international arena. Classical constitutional theory thereby…

Abstract

Purpose

The CoViD-19 pandemic has brought about a panoply of institutional challenges both domestically and in the international arena. Classical constitutional theory thereby underwent a reinvention by the executive for the sake of speedy policy action and to the detriment of institutional control while favouring authoritarian forms of governance. This paper concerns itself with institutional responses to such developments, placing emphasis on the role of the judiciary and people*s in contesting emergency decrees and other executive orders, especially where fundamental rights are infringed upon. The paper aims to explore the difficulties arising with exerting absolute executive powers during the health crisis, the respective role assumed by constitutional courts and the impact of the new governance paradigm on forms of public contestation, also as a means of quasi institutional control.

Design/methodology/approach

Indeed, the right to health may be translated into political discourse and become foundational to security and public interest paradigms. This may result in a shrinking public space given the constraints to the freedom of movement. In the name of public safety, the (collective) right to assembly, expression and protest have been submitted to major limitations in that regard.

Findings

Ultimately, this re-opens debates on the meaning of absolute rights and contextualities of derogations, as well as the reconcilability of civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights. It also exposes social inequalities, social justice dimensions and vulnerabilities, often exacerbated by the health crisis; migrant rights demonstrably face particularly severe and intersectional forms of violations.

Originality/value

Particular values lie with the interdisciplinary approach embraced in this paper; the authors draw on a variety of social sciences disciplines to shed light on this very current issue. Both theoretical and empirical methods are used and combined here, making sense of the underlying logic of virus governance and its impacts on fundamental rights.

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Review of Economics and Political Science, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2356-9980

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Abstract

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 12 no. 4/5/6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 5 November 2016

Çağrı Eryılmaz

During Gezi Protests of June 2013, hundred thousands of people from different and even opposite groups were together on the streets of Turkey against government for a…

Abstract

During Gezi Protests of June 2013, hundred thousands of people from different and even opposite groups were together on the streets of Turkey against government for a month. The abruptness, severity, diversity and creativity of Gezi Movement make it unique among urban movements in Turkey. Protesters not only challenged the police violence and authoritarian policies but also defended public spaces of their city. My analysis of Gezi Movement is based on the comparison of Lefebvre, Harvey, and Bookchin who all integrated the critique of capitalism and revolutionary vision into urban movements. However, they are different in terms of what revolution, city, class, citizen, and urban social movements are. Gezi Movement is discussed through the similarities and differences of three approaches.

Gezi Movement is a good example of New Social Movements which lacks an organization, hierarchy and a leader. As an urban movement it provided a glimpse of heterotopia of Lefebvre where many different groups and identities challenge the abstract space of neoliberal capitalism. The protesters, as the producers and the consumers of urban commons claimed Gezi Park and Taksim Square as Harvey stated. The transformation of protests into neighborhood forums despite losing power and participation shows the civic potential of urban movement that may develop direct democracy of citizens as a revolutionary alternative to capitalism. The spatial analysis of Gezi Movement provided insight to the revolutionary potential of urban movements in neoliberal age.

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Public Spaces: Times of Crisis and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-463-1

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Ibán Díaz-Parra and Jaime Jover-Báez

Social left-wing political contestation and activism in Spain have undergone great changes over the past four years. First, there has been a shift from the 15-M movement…

Abstract

Purpose

Social left-wing political contestation and activism in Spain have undergone great changes over the past four years. First, there has been a shift from the 15-M movement that took over public plazas with its ambiguous claims basically related to radical democracy and rejection of institutional politics, to a new focus on social problems generated by the crisis, highlighting issues such as housing and cutbacks in social rights. Second, there has been a shift towards institutional politics in 2014. How should this recent whirlwind evolution in political contestation to status quo be understood? What is the relation between the changing material conditions of the population and the extremely shifting shape of left-wing militancy in Spain? The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The arguments put forward here are based on the authors’ involvement in social movements in the city of Seville between 2011 and the current time. They have been complemented with in-depth interviews of social activists who have taken part in the movements: 15-M assemblies, the housing movement, general strikes and, in more recent times, electoral initiatives (Podemos and Ganemos). The interviews were done between 2012 and 2014. The fieldwork has been complemented with an exploration of documentary sources: the manifests and writings of the various organisations that are being addressed.

Findings

In the transition from 15-M assemblies to the recent shift in electoral initiatives, social protest have turned from direct democracy demands and the rejection of institutionalised politics to a progressively pragmatic and short-term position where institutions are targeted. This paper argues that the generalised impoverishment of the population, increased numbers of evictions and consistently high unemployment rates have broadened the social framework for the action of social movements. The political and ideological crisis, rooted in the majority of the population’s crumbling expectations of social progress has enabled the array of possibilities to be opened up to emancipatory politics.

Originality/value

It is argued that massive deprivation provoked by the economic crisis has been a fundamental factor in the movements’ new orientation, what as a consequence, and until certain extent, throws the New Social Movements discourses into crisis itself, at least with regard to its post-materialistic nature and its opposition to institutions of the State.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 36 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 31 March 2015

Joon K. Kim

To examine an exceptional case of international labor solidarity and advocacy in a nontraditional labor-receiving country of South Korea.

Abstract

Purpose

To examine an exceptional case of international labor solidarity and advocacy in a nontraditional labor-receiving country of South Korea.

Methodology/approach

Ethnographic research on migrant advocacy organization in Korea from its inception in the mid-1990s to the present; theoretical and comparative review of literature on migrant labor mobilization, with a focus on labor unions and migrant advocacy organizations.

Findings

The significance of the Korean case is that there are an unusually high number of migrant advocacy organizations that increasingly espouse an internationalist ideology. Furthermore, their effectiveness and sustainability rest on embedded solidarity networks across a spectrum of progressive labor and civic organizations.

Originality/Value

The chapter underscores the agentic power of society’s vulnerable populations, such as undocumented immigrant workers, despite the market-driven forces of globalization that disrupts communities and disciplines workers. Embedded solidarity with migrants from a transnational perspective adds to the much-needed discussion about global protests in the context of globalization and neoliberalism.

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Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Hio Hei Albert Wong

The purpose of this paper is to provide the historical and social contexts for the three protests in Macau in the Summer of 2014, while examining the popular discourse of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide the historical and social contexts for the three protests in Macau in the Summer of 2014, while examining the popular discourse of the protests. These include simultaneous eruptions toward immediate issues, the political apathy of Macau residents and Castell’s model of “networked social networks.” It also discusses the competition for youth after the protests.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper first reviews the history of Macau, in particular the people’s struggle against corruption and privilege, and its little-discussed history of protest. Its innovation in communications, political structure and education development are also explained to illustrate the foundations which make possible protests against an obsolete social structure.

Findings

The author finds that the history of Macau since the nineteenth century does not lack protests, with goals ranging from protests against colonialism to national and local demands. Macau youth are now more able and willing to mobilize themselves to make demands on the administration, and activists find it necessary to pass down such experience for generations to come.

Originality/value

The paper deconstructs the traditional image of Macau’s politics, by appealing to the linkage between continuity and contemporary events, and calls for the reader’s attention toward its social activism.

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Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1983

R.G.B. Fyffe

This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of…

Abstract

This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of industrial and economic democracy, which centres around the establishment of a new sector of employee‐controlled enterprises, is presented. The proposal would retain the mix‐ed economy, but transform it into a much better “mixture”, with increased employee‐power in all sectors. While there is much of enduring value in our liberal western way of life, gross inequalities of wealth and power persist in our society.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 3 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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