Panel descriptions:


Panel 1: Reclaiming the Future: Conceptualizing a New Generation of Social Movements (13.45-15.15, room Ks48)


Organizers: Lara Monticelli (Copenhagen Business School) and Nicole Doerr (University of Copenhagen)


The great financial crisis of 2008-2009, followed by poverty and mass protest in the Global South as well by the Occupy Wall Street protests with its international spin-offs, determine the beginning of a new phase for scholars interested in social movements, culture, and political participation. The panel draws on paper givers and interdisciplinary contributions in anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, gender studies and political science. We assume that current movements face unique characteristics and moral challenges that differentiate them from past waves of mobilizations like the alter-globalization movement and the “new social movements” of the Eighties and Nineties: Starting with the global wave of protests including the Arab Spring, Indignados and Occupy movements, current movements are not limited at confronting specific political subjects but direct their dissent towards broader themes like, for instance, growing inequalities, financial elites and the consequences of financial capitalism, and human-induced climate change. In a context of irreversible environmental disasters, wars, and rising nationalism, progressive activists and students in the Global ‘North’ currently engage in solidarity protests and cooperation with refugees and forced migrants from the South. The diversity that these movements embody in terms of North-South divisions, social class, language, gender, religion, and intersectional differences leads to new practical challenges and formats of translation, mutual learning and education during coalition work. Faced with a sense for global moral dilemmas and no time to loose, these movements blend contentious and prefigurative actions convinced that social change should be achieved not only by institutional demands onto governments and policy makers, but also by embodying the change through everyday actions, lifestyles and practices. Addressing the question of morality with a focus on prefigurative practices, the panel will present case studies of grassroots groups and movements for whom the focus on radical democracy and direct action is at the core of the agenda, including autonomous projects supporting refugees, ecological villages and radical democratic student communities, Transition towns, solidarity economy and mutual help networks embedded within broader settings of neoliberal management, mainstream volunteer movements and support by state actors and philanthrophic foundations. From an even broader, cultural perspective interested in participation and the translation potential of social movements, prefigurative practices of protest and direct action can broaden people’s understanding of what democracy looks like and of what constitutes a “political” subject able to “speak”. In theoretical terms, the panel will address the moral phenomenology of movements focusing on their prefigurative potential in the effort of re-conceptualizing not only the defining features of social movements but also, more broadly, the very characteristics of what constitutes a “political” subject and a “political” action.




Presenters and papers in the panel



Title of paper

Lara Monticelli

Copenhagen Business School

A New Wave? Prefigurative Social Movements as A New Type of Social Movements


Gritt Nielsen

Aarhus University

Turning theory into praxis? Student activism and prefiguration in educational spaces


Nicole Doerr

University of Copenhagen

Political Translation: Addressing Inequality in Social Movement and Solidarity Coalitions


Discussants: Birte Siim, Aalborg University




Panel 2: Democratic Republicanism as a Language of Collective Commitment (13.45-15.15, room K143)


Organizer: Andreas Møller Mulvad (Copenhagen Business School)


Abstract: As the world slides back towards societal conditions akin to the Gilded Age with rampant precarity in the labour market, increasing geopolitical tensions, and an oligarchic class escaping democratic acocuntability - with the added emergency of a deep ecological crisis – the time is right for reassessing normative paradigms for collective action that have proven their worth in earlier historical conjunctures. We must ask: Could languages of collective commitment that were pivotal to past generations of activists and movements help to revive a forceful ideational repertoire for contemporary social and political movements seeking to combat the ongoing descent into barbarism and de-civilization?


The term ‘ideational repertoire’ covers a number of potentials, including: 1) a social ontology, i.e. a set of theoretical assumptions about the state of the world; 2) a set of universal humanistic ideals and values to orientate one’s struggles by; 3) a stock of tried and tested institutional practices and/or intuitions. The language of collective commitment that we revisit in this section is democratic republicanism, a normative tradition with roots in classical antiquity and later revitalized by Enlightenment thinkers and the American and French revolutions. It is the starting point of this session that we should think of the nineteenth century socialist labour movement as a self-conscious heir – under the new historical condition of capitalism - to this tradition (Domenech 2004).


The purpose of the session is to discuss how central ideals and insights of democratic republicanism – including, but not limited to liberty as material independence, political power and property ownership as fiduciary relationships, popular sovereignty, civil rights, the Public Good, fraternal internationalism, and cooperativism - can help inform the practice of contemporary social and political movements.


The panel will explore the relevance of democratic republican insights both in terms of visions for societal transformation at the level of states and in terms of constitutive principles for the internal governance and organization of social and political movements.


The veritable explosion of movements inspired or shaped by the democratic republican legacy in the Spanish state since 2008 (15M, PAH, Podemos, En Comu etc) makes this case particularly salient to start from.



Presenters and papers in the panel





 Title of paper

David Guerrero

University of Barcelona

Fiduciary relationships as a normative device for democratic social movements: the case of the English Levellers


Bru Lain

University of Barcelona

From Absolute Dominium to Fiduciary Property Rights: The Contribution of American Republicanism to Contemporary Property Rights Theory


Julio Martinez-Cava

“Hunting the jacobin fox”. E. P. Thompson, a case of “republican communism”

University of Barcelon  

Edgar Manjarín

University of Barcelona

From Moral Economy of the Crowd to the Political Economy of Labour: Marx's rereading of the republican-democratic common sense


Andreas Mulvad

Copenhagen Business School

Plebeian Republicanism with Nordic Characteristics: Liberty, Fraternity, and the Cooperative State in the Hegemonic Vision of Frederik Borgbjerg

Discussant: Mikkel Thorup, Aarhus University







Copenhagen Business School (CBS) - Solbjerg Plads 3 - 2000 - Frederiksberg - +45 38153815 -