DeZIM_lunch discussion with Geoffrey Pleyers – When movements cross individuals. The personalization of activism.

DeZIM_lunch discussion with Geoffrey Pleyers

When: Thursday, 16. September, 12:30 to 13:30 pm
Where: Livestream via YouTube

Whether feminist, decolonial, green or for social justice, today's movements are profoundly shaped by personalized forms of activism. Ethical and deeply personal dimensions have placed the relation to oneself at the core of contemporary activism. For many activists, and more particularly among young citizens, the roots and motivation of activism lie in the construction of oneself as a principle of meaning, an ethical actor and the author of one's life as much as an actor of one's world. Action is moved by the desire to no longer remain passive in the face of societal problems that are experienced as personal causes: the destruction of the planet, corruption and arbitrariness, racism or sexist abuses.

The first part of this talk will review the main dimensions of these personal/ethical forms of activism, notably in the "alter-activist" culture.
The second part will focus on four dichotomies that have shaped citizenship and social movement studies but need to be overpassed to understand these emerging forms of activism: private life and public space, personal and political subjectivation, online and offline spheres, materialist and post-materialist claims.
The third part will point to misunderstandings and shortcomings that should be avoided in (hyper-) cultural or subjective perspectives on activism.
The final part will focus on some limitations and challenges of these forms of activism, notably when confronting reactionary actors and authoritarian states. It will conclude with cases of cross-fertilizations with more classic paths and actors of institutional politics

Geoffrey Pleyers is FNRS researcher and professor at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). He is the current ISA vice-president for research and the past president of ISA Research Committee 47 “Social movements”. His main books are “Alter-Globalization. Becoming Actors in the Global Age” (Polity, 2011) and “Movimientos sociales en el siglo XXI” (CLACSO, 2018). He has written a series of articles on global sociology and social movements in the pandemic in English, Spanish and French, including “The pandemic is a battlefield. Social movements during the COVID-19 lockdown” and “Global Sociology in the Pandemic”.

Sabrina Zajak is head of the Consensus & Conflict Department. She is Vice President of the ISA RC-47 and associate professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Ruhr University Bochum. There, she is engaged in research on civil society participation and mobilisation in national and international contexts. and Associate Professor Ruhr-University Bochum.