Conference Agenda

RN25_05: The impact of collective action
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Lorenzo Bosi, Scuola Normale Superiore
Location: GM.330
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road


Social Impact Solidarity Components in European Current Social Movements

Roger Campdepadros1, Marta Soler2, Susana León-Jiménez2

1University of Girona, Spain; 2University of Barcelona, Spain

During the last crisis, public administrations’ cuts let a lot of actions and attentions in fields as health, social protection or education disregarded. Social movements and active citizenship in several grades of formal and/or informal organization have been providing aid and attention to vulnerable people or collectives.

Even if there are a lot of NGO and organized civil society in Europe today, not all their activities and actions improve people’s lives, and achieve social impact. Some of them mislead their goals and focus on looking for funding, fall into clientelist relations with the administration, or professionalize themselves loosing contact with the public and disregarding the reality.

In this communication we present results from the Horizon 2020 project SOLIDUS. Solidarity in European societies: Empowerment, social justice and citizenship (2015-2018), that has been investigating solidarity actions and gathering evidences of their social impact. This project sistematized the common components of organizations’ actions that leed to a social impact solidarity. Among them we highlight internal democracy, plurality, transparency, achieving recognition, scalability, level of awareness and preparedness for solidarity, and creation of a sense meaning.

Implementing these evidences, neighborhood-based or proximity organizations, NGO, as well as civil society in general, can improve their actions and activities achieving higher social impact on peoples’ lives.

The Dynamics Of Redistributive Social Policy In Latin America. Protest, Electoral Politics And Institutions

Cesar Guzman-Concha1, Rossella Ciccia2

1University of Geneva; 2Queen's University Belfast, Scuola Normale Superiore

To what extent and under which conditions collective mobilizations influence government’s propensity to adopt measures targeting outsiders in Latin America? This region remains one of the most unequal regions in the world despite a long history of welfare state development. The first social protection schemes in the 1920-40s were circumscribed to a small number of politically influential groups (e.g. military, civil servants), but a progressive turn toward more inclusive social policies in the 2000s has extended coverage to low-income households, informal and rural workers. Comparative analyses of social policy expansion in Latin America highlight the importance of political factors such as democratic legacies and left party involvement (Huber and Stephens 2012), but several case studies have also observed an effect of extra-institutional forms of political participation routinely used by citizens to express their discontent and influence governments. The aim of this paper is to explore the determinants of universalistic social policies in 18 Latin American countries starting from the 2000s taking into account social mobilization, politics and socio-economic institutions. The analysis focuses on two sectors – social assistance (programas de transferencias condicionadas, pensiones sociales) and healthcare– which in contrast to social security programmes target outsiders, i.e. individuals out of formal employment and not covered by contributory social insurance. We observe that in countries where protests have been more intense, reforms have been more universalistic and social assistance has been extended to cover larger segments of the population. However, the relative power of left-wing parties in parliament seems to be a decisive factor to explain the generosity of such programs.

Three Rivers Three Struggles: Contemporary Water Conflicts and Resistance Movements in Turkey

Ayse Nal Akcay

University of Washington, Seattle

This paper analyses the social and political effects of numerous hydroelectric power plant (HEPP) constructions in Turkey with a focus on the Black Sea Region. Based on a field study in villages in three river basins in Duzce, Kastamonu and Rize and with their diaspora associations in Istanbul conducted mainly with the opponents of the power plant constructions, it studies how the peasants respond to the changing involvement of the state and private capital investments in the region. It questions why the resistance movements take different shapes in different regions in the Black Sea Region and under what circumstances they achieve their goals and continue to protect their valleys and under what circumstances they dissolve. One of these cases is Loc Valley in Kastamonu which is a landmark social environmental movement with significant achievements, the second one is Ikizdere Valley in Rize which speaks for a significant social movement that could at least protect some regions of the valley and the third one is Aksu Valley in Duzce which represents a weak local movement that was not able to achieve its goals. I will argue that the differences in outcomes between these three movements are at least partly due to choices in mobilization strategies, willingness to confront the government forces like police and gendarmerie and the presence or absence of clientalistic relationship with the government.

How the Social Movement Actors Assess Social Change: An Exploration of the Consequences of Ukraine’s Local Maidan Protests

Olha Zelinska

Graduate School for Social Research, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Social movements aim to change specific aspects of society and researchers have long considered the question of how to assess contention’s immediate outcomes and broader social consequences. In this paper, I contribute to arguments that, to assess the potential change created by social movements, we need qualitative studies of the social movement actors who attempted to change their society. I explore the outcomes of the Maidan social movement in Ukraine, 2013-2014. The movement in Kyiv grew into a nation-wide contention, led to the resignation of the president and new parliamentary elections, and was followed by a military conflict in the east of the country. Relatively understudied are the dozens of local Maidans in Ukraine’s cities, towns and villages that issued own demands to local and national authorities. I present the results of a pilot study that aimed to understand, from the participants' point of view, what the outcomes of local Maidans were. I analyzed (a) the primary documents – local Maidan resolutions – issued by protest assemblies in four Ukrainian localities during November 2013-February 2014, and (b) 24 face-to-face interviews with 33 Maidan activists, representatives of local authorities and observers, held in these four communities during September-November 2018. I compare four case studies on local Maidan’s impact, including both immediate outcomes and long-term social changes, as seen by activists and observers. In this exploration, I pay specific attention to the role of local-level political opportunity structures (POS) and social movements organizations’ (SMO) strength in shaping protest dynamics and outcomes.