List of participants

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This small (limited to 30 individuals), invitation-only workshop included a diverse range of researchers focusing on the Arab Spring, European wave, or Occupy movements. An array of individuals who approach the topic from both action and research perspectives took part in the workshop.

Workshop ecosystem: The workshop created the opportunity for discussion among researchers with very diverse profiles and trajectories; specifically, participants came to the table with, among other attributes, a combination of European, Arabic and United States profiles; English-native and non-English-native backgrounds; varying degrees of experience with social movements scholarship (from experts to fairly unfamiliar with this literature); and both digital and non-digital emphases. We enjoyed such diversity as a feature rather than a bug; still, to create a respectful and productive environment for discussion, we asked that participants approach the event with an open mind as well as a willingness to take distance from each position and to explain any salient details (e.g., related to linguistic differences, historical approaches, or different research modes) with which they may be familiar, yet of which other participants may be less aware.

List of participants


Mayo Fuster Morell

Related work:

  • Video presentation: The Spanish Revolution & the Internet: From free culture to meta-politics
  • Blog post Report on OWS Forum on the commons:
  • Fuster Morell, M. & Subirats, J. (2012). Més enllà d'Internet com a eina "martell” - eina de la vella política: Cap un nou Policy Making?. Els casos del Moviment de Cultura Lliure i pel Procomú Digital i el 15M a Catalunya (Beyond the Internet as a tool "hammer" - tool of the old politics: Towards a New Policy Making?. Cases the Free Culture Movement and the digital commons and 15M in Catalonia). Research report. Institute de Govern i Politiques Publiques (UAB) per l'Escola d'Administracio Publica de Catalunya. (139 pages)

Abstract: In the context of multiple crises – ecological, political, financial and geopolitical restructuring – there are emerging forms of social cooperation. In the Spanish case, we have seen some of the largest demonstrations since the country made its transition to democracy in the 70s with massive occupations of public squares, attempts to prevent parliaments’ functioning and citizen assemblies of thousands of people taking place in spring and autumn 2011. Large mobilizations are also taking place in other countries (such as Arab countries, Iceland, Greece, and more recently the United States). This research centered in the case of the Spanish State; analyzing its genealogy and the organizational logic that adopted connected to the use of the new technologies. In the Spanish case, the Free Culture and Digital Commons Movement played an important role in the rising and shaping of the mobilization. The campaign against "Sinde Law" (on restrictive Internet regulation) in December 2010 and its afterworld meta-political derivation into "Don't vote them" campaign (meaning do not vote for the parties which approved Sinde law) are considered a starting point and one of the trajectories that most contributed to the generation of the "Indignate"/15th of May mobilization cycle for a "True Democracy Now". Additionally, the Free Culture and Digital Commons Movement has influenced the organizational logic of the "Indignate" mobilization (particularly in terms of new technologies usage for the collective achievement of common goals). The research first presents the role of the Free Culture and Digital Commons Movement in the genealogy of the "Indignate" Movement in Spanish State. Then, it will be analyzed the commonalities and differences between both emerging forms of social cooperation (contrasting "digital commons" initiatives such as Wikipedia and "society commons" initiatives such as Square Occupations) that together suggest a sift of the format of collective action for mobilization and organization, and a shift to a more active and autonomous role of civic society in the network society. The research is based on the results of an a analysis of 145 initiatives connected to the Indignate mobilization in Catalonia and 28 interview to participants. The research report is in Catalan.

  • Fuster Morell, M. (2011). Participacion en communidades online y democracia radical. En A. Calle, Democracia Radical. Entre vínculos y utopías. Barcelona: Icaria Editorial.

Dalida María Benfield

  • Affiliation: Occupy research & Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University
  • Bio & web:
  • Email: dmbenfield(at)
  • Keywords/themes: online video art and social transformation; politics of race and gender in OWS, as manifested through online video; comparative digital poetics of OWS and Egyptian revolution
  • Focus case: Occupy movement. Comparative analysis of online video from OWS and Egyptian revolution.

Related work:

Sasha Costanza-Chock

Related work:

Rob Faris

Related work:

  • By John Kelly, Vladimir Barash, Karina Alexanyan, Bruce Etling, Robert Faris, Urs Gasser, and John Palfrey “Mapping Russian Twitter” <>
  • Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture and Dissent. Authored by Bruce Etling, John Kelly, Robert Faris and John Palfrey. New Media Society 2010: 1225.

Abstract: This study explores the structure and content of the Arabic blogosphere using link analysis, term frequency analysis, and human coding of individual blogs. We identified a base network of approximately 35,000 Arabic-language blogs, mapped the 6000 most- connected blogs, and hand coded over 3000. The study is a baseline assessment of the networked public sphere in the Arabic-speaking world, which mainly clusters nationally. We found the most politically active areas of the network to be clusters of bloggers in Egypt, Kuwait, Syria, and the Levant, as well as an ‘English Bridge’ group. Differences among these indicate variability in how online practices are embedded in local political contexts. Bloggers are focused mainly on domestic political issues; concern for Palestine is the one issue that unites the entire network. Bloggers link preferentially to the top Web 2.0 sites (e.g. YouTube and Wikipedia), followed by pan-Arab mainstream media sources, such as Al Jazeera. Download:

  • Online Security in the Middle East and North Africa. A Survey of Perceptions, Knowledge, and Practice. Authored by Rob Faris, Hal Roberts, Rebekah Heacock, Ethan Zuckerman, Urs GasserPublished August 01, 2011

Abstract: Digital communication has become a more perilous activity, particularly for activists, political dissidents, and independent media. The recent surge in digital activism that has helped to shape the Arab spring has been met with stiff resistance by governments in the region intent on reducing the impact of digital organizing and independent media. No longer content with Internet filtering, many governments in the Middle East and around the world are using a variety of technological and offline strategies to go after online media and digital activists. In this report we describe the results of a survey of 98 bloggers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) carried out in May 2011 in order to study bloggers’ perceptions of online risk and the actions they take to address digital communications security, including both Internet and cell phone use. The survey was implemented in the wake of the Arab spring and documents a proliferation of online security problems among the respondents. In the survey, we address the respondents’ perceptions of online risk, their knowledge of digital security practices, and their reported online security practices. The survey results indicate that there is much room for improving online security practices, even among this sample of respondents who are likely to have relatively high technical knowledge and experience. Download:

  • Public Discourse in the Russian Blogosphere: Mapping RuNet Politics and Mobilization. Published October 18, 2010. Authored by Bruce Etling, Karina Alexanyan, John Kelly, Rob Faris, John Palfrey, Urs Gasser.

Key findings: We analyzed Russian blogs to discover networks of discussion around politics and public affairs. Beginning with an initial set of over five million blogs, we used social network analysis to identify a highly active ‘Discussion Core’ of over 11,000. These were clustered according to long term patterns of citations within posts, and the resulting segmentation characterized through both automated and human content analysis. Key findings include: + Unlike their counterparts in the US and elsewhere, Russian bloggers prefer platforms that combine features typical of blogs with features of social network services (SNSs) like Facebook. Russian blogging is dominated by a handful of these “SNS hybrids.” + While the larger Russian blogosphere is highly divided according to platform, there is a central Discussion Core that contains the majority of political and public affairs discourse. This core is comprised mainly, though not exclusively, of blogs on the LiveJournal platform. + The Discussion Core features four major groupings: i) Politics and Public Affairs (including news-focused discussion, business and finance, social activists, and political movements) ii) Culture (including literature, cinema, high culture, and popular culture) iii) Regional (bloggers in Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Israel, etc.) iv) Instrumental (paid blogging and blogging for external incentives) + Political/public affairs bloggers cover a broad spectrum of attitudes and agendas and include many who discuss politics from an independent standpoint, as well as those affiliated with offline political and social movements, including strong ‘Democratic Opposition’ and ‘Nationalist’ clusters. + The Russian political blogosphere supports more cross-linking debate than others we have studied (including the U.S. and Iranian), and appears less subject to the formation of self-referential ‘echo chambers.’ + Pro-government bloggers are not especially prominent and do not constitute their own cluster, but are mostly located in a part of the network featuring general discussion of Russian public affairs. However, there is a concentration of bloggers affiliated with pro-government youth groups among the Instrumental bloggers. + We find evidence of political and social mobilization, particularly in those clusters affiliated with offline political and social movements. + The online ‘news diet’ of Russian bloggers is more independent, international, and oppositional than that of Russian Internet users overall, and far more so than that of non-Internet users, who are more reliant upon state-controlled federal TV channels. + Popular political YouTube videos focus on corruption and abuse of power by elites, the government, and the police.

Bruce Etling

Related work:

  • See Rob Faris related work.

Colin Maclay

Related work:

Amar Ashar

Related work:

Beth Coleman

Related work:

  • Papers "WikiLeaks and Networked Press Autonomy" and "Tweeting the Revolution" (with Berkman Fellow Mike Ananny) at the Oxford Internet Institute's 20th Anniversary event.
  • Paper: Tweeting the Revolution: agency, collective action, and the negotiation of risk in a networked age.

Abstract: This paper looks at the impact of social media platforms on collective action. In particular, it focuses on spheres of activism where personal risk (bodily or otherwise) is the condition of participation. For this analysis, I discuss interviews conducted with Egyptian activists around the events of Tahrir Square. Issues of copresence, witness, and visibility are central to my discussion. This talk is based on a research paper developed with my coauthor Dr. Mike Ananny. Link Ethan Zuckerman liveblogged a talk:

Alicia Solow-Niederman

  • Affiliation: Berkman Center for Internet & Society
  • Bio & web: Alicia Solow-Niederman is a project coordinator at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
  • Email: aliciasn(at)
  • Keywords/themes: social media's role in social movements, Arab Spring, 'Twitter Revolution' (and whether this phrase is appropriate, the role of technology in helping and/or hindering democratization). Interested in thinking about the correct way to conceptualize online/offline mobilization and the relationships between the two as people navigate cyberspace and physical space during protests.
  • Focus cases:

Related work:


Nagla Rizk

  • Affiliation: American University of Cairo
  • Bio & web:
  • Email:
  • Keywords/themes:
  • Focus cases: Egypt

Related work:

Lina Attalah

Related work:

  • On workshop discussions:

A) EMERGING ORGANIZATIONAL FORMS AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES. Which organizational forms were adopted by the movements in each case? What is the role of social media in shaping these emerging forms? Are there similarities among the cases? What do these cases tell us about the conditions and organizational principles of collective action?

I would add here: How the virtuality of online networks somehow reinstates a sense of community which was tactfully broken by the mastery of authoritarian regimes, particularly in the cases of Egypt and Tunisia.

B) WHO MOBILIZED AND WITH WHICH GOALS AND STRATEGIES. What is the movement composition (i.e, who were the actors and what social bases were involved)? What were/are the visions and strategies of change in each of the cases? Is there a common political view or strategy among all the cases? What are the significant divisions between actors within each individual case? Are there similar divisions across different cases, and to what extent are the local and national dynamics important in shaping movement configuration?

It is particularly interesting to tap into hierarchies embedded in the very horizontal networks produced by online social media: how these hierarchies unfold, how they become acknowledged and embraced, etc...The question could also elucidate issues of digital identities.

C) EXPLANATORY FACTORS AND CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE CASES. Why did social mobilization happen in so many countries at once? Are there similar explanatory factors and historical trajectories that explain why mobilization took place? Is it legitimate to talk about a global wave of mobilization? If so, how are these different cases connected and how might we confirm and document the connections between movements? What are the mechanisms of diffusion and translation among the cases?

Again, there is certainly a traceable connection between Tunisia's mobilization and Egypt's uprising the day Zeineddin Ben Ali fled. From skeptical mainstream media discourses of "Egypt is not Tunisia", to a euphoric hype on alternative and online social media, to Google Groups shared amongst thousands of users from the two countries to disseminate tips on how to handle police ahead of 25 January; the interconnectedness certainly exists. It becomes a question of how do we study this connection, and how do we trace it its evolution beyond these two countries and even the Arab World as a whole.


Matthew Smith

  • Affiliation: International development research center (Canada)
  • Bio & web:
  • Email:
  • Keywords/themes:
  • Focus cases:

Related work:

Dania El-Khechen

  • Affiliation: International development research center (Canada)
  • Bio & web: I am currently a research awardee at IDRC and I am fairly new to the world of social sciences! I have a PhD in Computer Science from Concordia University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Carleton university before I joined IDRC. I am interested in social movements, political participation and social media. Part of my research work at IDRC will be studying the role of social media in the MENA revolutions (Egypt and Tunisia in particular).
  • Email:
  • Keywords/themes:
  • Focus cases: Egypt, Tunisia.

Related work:


Micah Sifry

Related work:

Pablo Rey Mazón

  • Affiliation: Visiting Scientist at Center for Civic Media MIT Media Lab; Meipi; Montera34; Basurama. Occupy research (Occupy data hackathon),
  • Bio & web: Data visualization. Media coverage analysis. Co-organizer Occupyresearch network. http://numeroteca/ +
  • Email: pablo(at)
  • Keywords/Themes: Twitter and Newspaper front page coverage analysis. Waste. Maps.

Specially interested in the role that the mass media and social media play in these mobilizations. How successful are the social media in the new media ecology? How powerful still is the role of the mass media (specially newspapers)?

Related work:

Ofer Sharone

  • Affiliation: MIT Sloan, Institute for Work and Employment Research
  • Bio & web:
  • Email: osharon(at)
  • Keywords/themes:mobilizing of unemployed, underemployed and precarious workers, comparing this mobilization cross-nationally, and understanding the role of social media.
  • Focus cases: Occupy

Related work:

Zack Brisson

Hacktivism; The role of technology and new media in institution building in post-revolutionary MENA

  • Focus cases: Tunisia, Egypt,

Related work:

Nicole Doerr

Related work:

Jeffrey Juris

  • Affiliation: Northeastern University
  • Bio & web: Jeffrey S. Juris is an Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California Berkeley, and is the author of Networking Futures: the Movements against Corporate Globalization (Duke University Press), Global Democracy and the World Social Forums (co-author, Paradigm Press), as well as numerous articles on social movements, transnational networks, new media, and political protest. His co-edited volume, Insurgent Encounters: Transnational Activism, Ethnography, and the Political, is forthcoming with Duke University Press, and he is currently working on a new book about free media and autonomy in Mexico. He is also conducting collaborative research on Occupy Boston, and has a forthcoming article in American Ethnologist called "Reflections on #Occupy Everywhere: Social Media, Public Space, and Emerging Logics of Aggregation." and
  • Email: j.juris(at)
  • Keywords/Themes: globalization; social movements; new media; youth protest; violence; Occupy movements (social media, organization, direct democracy; race/class)
  • Focus places: Previous work in Spain, Mexico, and U.S. Current research on Occupy Boston

Related work: See above

Robert J. Wengronowitz

  • Affiliation:Boston College Dept. of Sociology and MRAP - Movement / Media Research Action Project.
  • Bio & web:Began program at BC in fall 2011 after completing a masters in social science at Chicago and undergrad at Illinois (urbana-champaign). I began the program with a focus on alternative agriculture in the United States, especially community supported agriculture and young back-to-the-land types. With the auspicious timing of Occupy during Bill Gamson's fall course on social movements, I immediately joined the movement and started doing qualitative participatory research. This work continues as the Occupy movement prepares for what will be an exciting 2012.
  • Email: bobbywego(at)
  • Keywords/Themes: Economic and political democracy/ how we can't have one without the other and, of course, how we can get there. Navigating

participation in the movement while doing research on the movement.

  • Focus places: Occupy Boston

Related work Towards an American Spring

William A. (Bill) Gamson

  • Affiliation: Professor of Sociology, Boston College and Co-Director of MRAP (Movements/media Research and Action Project).
  • Bio & Web: William A. Gamson is a Professor of Sociology and co-directs, with Charlotte Ryan, the Media Research and Action Project (MRAP) at Boston College. He co-authored, Shaping Abortion Discourse: Democracy and the Public Sphere in Germany and the United States (2002) and is the author of Talking Politics (1992) and The Strategy of Social Protest (2nd edition, 1990) among other books and articles on political discourse, the mass media and social movements. He is a past president of the American Sociological Association and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His current work involves the development of game simulations as a tool for social change. Website:
  • Email: gamson(at)
  • Keyword/Themes: Media and Social Movements; cultural and discourse change; framing contests; collective action frames.
  • Focus places: Occupy Movement, Boston, Arab Sprin

Related work:

Jason Pramas

  • Affiliation: Open Media Boston, Lesley University.
  • Bio & Web:
  • Email: jason(at)
  • Keyword/Themes: democracy, justice, social movements, altermondialisme, digital media, new journalism, network organizing, labor, ecology
  • Focus place:Occupy movement/Occupy Boston, World Social Forum process/Boston Social Forum, Open Media Boston, Digital Media Conference, Mass. Global Action/Campaign on Contingent Work, etc.

Related work:

Sandra Ray

  • Affiliation: 3L student at Harvard Law
  • Bio & web:
  • Email: sray(at)
  • Keywords/themes:
  • Focus cases: Greek leftist, American Progressive activism.


Dan Ryan

  • Affiliation: Associate Professor of Sociology at Mills College. Member of WikiProject Sociology. Occupy research (Occupy data hackathon),
  • Bio & website @djjr
  • Email: djjrjr
  • Keywords/themes:The Sociology of Information, networks, information order, notification, "democracy and the information order"
  • Focus cases: Occupy, 2012 U.S. election
  • On workshop discussions: A) EMERGING ORGANIZATIONAL FORMS AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES. Of the three, this is closest to where I spend my time thinking about these things. I'm the love child of organizational, Goffmanian, and phenomenological sociology on one side of the family and math and computer science on the other. My inclination here is to think not first about emerging forms but existing forms -- we don't really have a very good conceptual vocabulary and understanding of social information behaviors and so everything that involves new technology tends to get called an emerging or new form. Some things are of course new, but others are recapitulations of existing forms, perhaps with changes on important dimensions (the obvious candidates - speed, cost, bandwidth, search). As for where to look, I'm interested in what people are trying to do and failing at, what gets used in October but disappears by January, what tool evolves into what tool, what kinds of functional substitution happen, what great ideas go nowhere, which tools used by one side baffle the other, etc. All very preliminary. And for one who plays in the gardens of visualization, simulation, networks, and the like, social media are also just one big curiosity shop.

Gabriel Schaffzin

  • Affiliation: MassArt's Dynamic Media Institute. Occupy research (Occupy data hackathon),
  • Bio & web: In the years since graduating with an undergraduate business degree from Babson College, Gabi has worked in the marketing department of a large corporation, on the creative team of big and small ad agencies, and as Director of Creative Development at a small media platform startup.Providing innovative solutions to problems has always been the primary driver for his work, but it wasn't until he reached the Dynamic Media Institute at MassArt that he realized he could try to solve problems that weren't necessarily driven by user metrics or profitability. Rather, his skills as a multi-platform front-end developer, he believes, can be used to facilitate a more civil public discourse -- a belief that acts as a foundation for his academic work.
  • Email: gaboosh(at)
  • Keywords/themes:Consensus building and public discourse facilitation via dynamic media tools.
  • Focus cases: Occupy Wall Street movement.
  • Interest: line A would be of most interest to me. Beyond what social media's role was, however, I'd be extremely curious to hear ideas on what the movement would have looked like 15 years ago (pre-social media) and what it might look like in another 15 years. I admit, however, that I do not have any expertise in that matter, so

providing further insights is difficult.

Related work:

Tim McCarthy

  • Affiliation: LIPTV.US. MIT Media Lab. Occupy research (Occupy data hackathon),
  • Bio & web: Tim McCarthy - Creative Producer, I am first and foremost a gay video historian. I have traveled the planet since 1990 recording Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender Culture as a gift for future generations and as a medicine for myself. I've been to 90 countries so far and all 7 continents.
  • Email: tim(at)
  • Keywords/themes: OccuppyData, OccupyVideo, ACT-UP DC

Specifically, what preceding social protest movements, like ACT-UP, have present Occupy participants been a part of. What technologies did they use in their previous experiences and how does it inform how they use technology in their Occupy protest.

  • Focus cases: Occupy

Related work:

Martha Fuentes-Bautista

  • Affiliation: UMass Amherst. Occupy research (Occupy data hackathon),
  • Bio & web: My research focuses on social stratification of information and communication infrastructure, and the role of public policy and civil society actors (non-profits and social movements) in digital inclusion efforts in the U.S. and Latin America. Current areas of interest include media technologies and social inequality; new media and social change; citizen and community media policy; social movements and new media; evaluation research.
  • Email:
  • Keywords/themes:
  • Focus cases:

Related work:


Cristina María Flesher Fominaya

  • Affiliation: Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen.
  • Bio & web: PhD, Sociology, University of California, Berkeley. Founding co-chair, Council for European Studies European Social Movements Research Network (< Editor Interface journa for and about social movements ( Current research project: Global waves of protest, in development (pending funding). Web:
  • Email: cristinaflesher(at)
  • Keyword/Themes: Social movements and culture, internal movement divisions, vertical versus horizontal or autonomous versus institutional left approaches, collective identity formation in heterogeneous movements
  • Focus place: Europe

Related work:

  • Initial research on connections between GJM and 15-M in Europe, which follows from: “The Madrid bombings and popular protest: misinformation, counterinformation, mobilisation and elections after ‘11-M’” Contemporary Social Science Vol. 6, 3, 2011, PPSOE. 1–19.
  • "Collective Identity in Social Movements: Central Concepts and Debates", Sociology Compass, Vol 4, 6, 2010, PPSOE.393-404, doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2010.00287.x
  • “Creating Cohesion from Diversity: The Challenge of Collective Identity Formation in the Global Justice Movement”, Sociological Inquiry, Vol 80, 3, 2010, PPSOE. 377-404, doi: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.2010.00339.x
  • “Autonomous Movement and the Institutional Left: Two Approaches in Tension in Madrid's Anti-globalization Network”, South European Society & Politics, Vol 12, 3, 2007, PPSOE.335-358.

Laurence Cox

Related work:

Marcos Ancelovici

  • Affiliation: Department of Sociology, McGill University, Montreal
  • Bio & web: Current project: Anti-Austerity Protests in France and Spain and Occupy movement in Montreal, Canada. Link to my personal webpage:
  • Email: marcos.ancelovici(at)
  • Keywords/Themes: Composition and agenda (Who the occupiers were and what they wanted); Significance, usefulness and limits of framing demands in terms of “we are the 99%”; Participative democracy and the role of assemblies; and, the importance of problem-solving goals in social movements (what difference do they make for mobilization and for the sustainability of the movement?). Anti-austerity protests, discourse/framing, repertoires, skills acquisition
  • Focus places: Spain, France and Montreal.
  • Methods: Participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and a survey on the site of the occupation.

Related work:

  • Paper on the Spanish Indignados to be presented at the CES conference;
  • Preliminary results about who the occupiers were and what they wanted. Based on survey at the site of the occupation in Montreal (my students and I interviewed 75 people).
  • Short paper on the significance, usefulness and limits of framing demands in terms of “we are the 99%” (Paper in French).
  • Ancelovici, Marcos (2012) “Le mouvement Occupy et la question des inégalités: Ce que le slogan ‘Nous sommes les 99 %’ dit et ne dit pas.” In F. Dupuis-Déri, ed. Par dessus le marché! Rélexions critiques sur le capitalisme. Montreal: Écosociété. [1]

Maite Tapia

  • Affiliation: Ph.D. Candidate at Cornell University. This academic year visiting student at MIT (Institute for Work and Employment Research - Sloan Department of management).
  • Bio & web: I am a fifth year PhD student at Cornell University. With a Belgian mom and Spanish dad, I lived most of my life in Bruges, Belgium. I graduated in Law and spent my last year of undergraduate in Italy. I stayed in northern Italy for 4 years, doing a Masters and working at the Institute for Labor in Bologna, before coming to Ithaca. My main interests revolve around trade unions and community-based organizations in the US and Europe. Currently I am focusing on member commitment, organizational structure and culture, and mobilization. Some of my work is forthcoming in the British Journal of Industrial Relations. My work also analyzes the diffusion and adaptation of core organizing elements from the US to the UK and Germany and how these processes are moderated by institutional, socio-economic context.
  • Email: mtapia81(at)
  • Keywords/themes: diffusion of social movements, mobilization capacity, shift to global movement?, growing inequality, The role of the labor movement and whether/how they shaped the rise of these new social movements.
  • Focus places: Occupy movement UK and Germany.
  • Interested questions:i) How and why did the movement emerge and spread/diffused?

ii) to what extent can there be a shift of scale: can these movements become part of a global movement, or are they already? iii) OWS: how does it remain sustainable over time? From occupying the squares to occupying our minds? To what extent is there an opportunity for other movements (e.g., labor movement) to re-energize?

Elżbieta Ciżewska

  • Affiliation: University of Warsaw, Institute of Applied Social Sciences, Department of History of Ideas and Anthropology of Culture
  • Bio & web: I am an assistant professor at the University of Warsaw, Poland, where I give classes on sociology of the Polish Solidarity Movement, civil society and history of ideas of 19th and 20th centuries. I have authored so far one book The Public Philosophy of ”Solidarity”. ”Solidarity” in 1980-81 from the perspective of the republican political tradition [in Polish] which was published in 2010. I covered there subjects ranging from sociology of social movements, through Polish, European and American political thought to the elements of literary criticism. I tried to explain Solidarity’s dynamics by placing its cultural identities in a broad Euro-Atlantic context, mostly in the context of the classical republican tradition which was so essential for the development of modern democracy. The book is based on my PhD thesis that has won numerous prizes, including the highly prestigious Prime Ministers's Award.
  • Email: e.cizewska(at), cizewska(at)
  • Themes/topics: Cultural background of social movements
  • Focus places: Poland

Related work:

Francesca Vassallo

  • Affiliation: University of Southern Maine
  • Bio & web: Associate professor of political science. Research interests: conventional and unconventional political activism, socialization in France and Europe in comparative perspective, French and European politics, EU identity, European integration process. Author of: "France, Social Capital and Political Activism" Palgrave 2010, and journal articles/book chapters on political behavior in Europe.
  • Email: francesca.vassallo(at)
  • Themes/topics: Political activism, Europe, socialization and mobilization, protest action.
  • Focus places: French protest context in comparative perspective, theoretical paradigm of unconventional mobilization movements in Europe.

Related work:

  • Paper for the CES: French Protest and Tradition: Mobilization against the New Minimum Retirement Age. University of Southern Maine

Work from other authors of reference:

  • Jeff Goodwin and James M. Jasper, eds. Contention in context : political opportunities and the emergence of protest. Stanford,

California : Stanford University Press, 2012.

  • Taehyun Nam. "Rough Days in Democracies: Comparing Protests in Democracies" European Journal of Political Research (2007)46: 97-120.

Alice Mattoni

  • Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh and OWS Pittsburgh
  • Bio & web: I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Sociology Department, University of Pittsburgh. There, I teach courses on social movements and continue my research on activist media practices. I am also a member of the research group "New Media and Politics" based at the Istituto Carlo Cattaneo, Bologna. I serve as co-convenor of the Standing Group "Participation and Mobilization" at the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR) and I am one of the co-editors of Interface, a journal for and about social movements. Amongst my recent publications: Media Practices and Protest Politics. How Precarious Workers Mobilize (Ashgate, 2012 in press); Mediation and Social Movements (Intellect, 2012 in press) with Bart Cammaerts, Alice Mattoni, Patrick McCurdy (eds).
  • Email: am232(at); alicemattoni(at)
  • Themes/topics: Precarity movement in Italy
  • Focus places: Occupy movement, Pittsburgh, Italy. Occupy Wall Street at the local level with a focus on activist media practices; but also the transnational dimension of the Arab Spring, the Indignados in Europe and Occupy Wall Street.

Related work:

E. Colin Ruggero

  • Affiliation: PhD Candidate, Sociology. The New School for Social Research.
  • Bio & web: Colin is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the New School for Social Research. He currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he is conducting dissertation research as a member of Occupy Philadelphia. He maintains a blog at [2] where other work and interests can be found.
  • Email: ecolinr(at)
  • Themes/topics: Occupy Movement, Punk, Political Consciousness, Identity Formation, Social Movements and Culture, Anti-Capitalist Movements, Contemporary Radical Politics and Culture.
  • Focus places: Occupy Philadelphia, US Occupy Movement
  • Paper to Share at Workshop: A City and Its Occupation: Occupy Philly, Punk Participation and the Importance of ‘Context and Content’ in Social Movement Studies (Download PDF)

Related work:

  • "Spirit of ’76: Occupy Philadelphia, Voicelessness, and the Challenge of Growing the Occupy Wall Street Movement" Deliberately Considered, November 2011. [3]
  • "Radical Green Populism: Climate Change, Social Change and the Power of Everyday Practices" Perspectives on Anarchist Theory 2009. Institute for Anarchist Studies (
  • "Relocating Energy in the Social Commons" Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Vol. 29, No. 2, PPSOE. 81-94 (2009). [4]
  • "Building over Planning: Radical Counter-Hegemony and the Dinosaurs of the Old Left." Resistance Studies Magazine (1) 2010. [5]
  • Ongoing Dissertation Work - "A City and Its Occupation (Occupy Philly and the Micropolitics of Social Change)." This is a long term project, begun prior to the emergence of Occupy Philly. I am both a research and participant, deeply involved with Occupy Philly in both senses. In the most simple sense, the project asks: Why does Occupy Philly look, sound, act, and transform in the way it does, and what can this tell us about contemporary social movements more generally? Here is a brief abstract of the current state of the project: "The emergence of the U.S. Occupy Movement (OM) has raised a host of complex questions about the nature of ‘social change’ in contemporary Western societies. This article represents the reflections of a young social movement scholar and Occupy participant, struggling to make sense of OM in terms of social movement scholarship and actual activist experience. Drawing on six months of ethnographic research within Occupy Philadelphia (OP), three preliminary insights are highlighted here, analyzed in relation to both ‘the study’ and ‘the practice’ of social movements. First, OP intimately reflects the city itself, its history and geography, tensions and dynamics. Analysis of this contextual relationship highlights the need to reevaluate the ahistorical, universalizing tendencies that pervade social movement literature. Rather than abstracting movements from their historical and cultural contexts, the case of OP suggests the importance of understanding a movement’s specific contexts. Second, close attention to individual OP participant experiences underscores how movement contexts offer significant insight into the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of social movements. An analysis of the differential participation of Philadelphia Punks in OP demonstrates how grounded, culturally sensitive research can lend crucial analytical insights not currently accessible through approaches found in the literature. Finally, the methodological implications of the suggested approach are discussed, arguing that the literature’s fondness for ‘spectacular’ and explicitly ‘political’ social movement activity is incomplete and limiting. Greater attention should be given to understanding specific movement contexts, actual actors’ daily experiences and practices, and how these specific rationalities relate to the formation of activist networks and movement canopies."

Maria Kousis

  • Affiliation: Professor of Sociology and Vice Director of the “Bioethics” Graduate Program at the University of Crete
  • Bio & web: Maria Kousis is Professor of Sociology and Vice Director of the “Bioethics” Graduate Program at the University of Crete. Her publications include: Contested Mediterranean Spaces (with T. Selwyn and D. Clark, Berghahn Books 2011), a two-part special issue of American Behavioral Scientist on Mediterranean Political Processes, 1400-2006 (with Charles Tilly and Roberto Franzosi 2008), and Environmental Politics in Southern Europe (with Klaus Eder, Kluwer, 2001). She has coordinated or participated as partner in European Commission projects including EuroMed Heritage II, Environment and Climate Research Programme, and the 6th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technology. She is co-organizer (with Alia Gana) of Session 57 of the 13th World Congress of Rural Sociology “Global crises, contested politics and emerging paradigms in rural Mediterranean”, Lisbon, Portugal, July 29 to Aug. 4, 2012.
  • Email: kousis(at)
  • Themes/topics: Environmental movement, economic-political contention, anti-austerity protests,
  • Focus places: Greece
  • Related work

Current Research Note: Economic Contention and the Global Economic Crisis: the case of Greece Economic contention has recently surfaced in Western and Mediterranean regions, having earlier made its appearance in Latin American (Almeida 2007). In 2011 alone, economic-political contention is evident in anti-austerity protests, the indignado, and occupy-city movements, as well as Arab revolts for political and economic transformations. Economic change and its impacts are bearers of opportunities or threats for mobilization, as seen in the case of financial crises and the growing power of transnational corporations and global economic institutions (Kousis & Tilly 2005; Johnston & Almeida 2006; Almeida 2007). The development of electronic communications has also been considered as a new opportunity and threat for social movements of the past decade (McAdam, Tarrow, and Tilly 2001; Rucht 2005; della Porta and Tarrow 2005). Inspired by the wider economic and political transformations of the 21st century my research considers the question: How does economic change and variation either (a) constitute significant political threats and opportunities, or (b) shape responses to political threats and opportunities? (Kousis & Tilly 2005). The research will begin by focusing in on Greek protests against austerity measures since 2010, and the ways in which they link with and reflect concerns in indignado, and occupy-city movements, as well as Arab mobilizations. Challenging conventional approaches, the research adopts a relational perspective to the study of political processes in Greece aiming to: a) offer preliminary evidence on citizen activism and claim making against the austerity policies and measures, b) search for the related economic, political, and media opportunity structures at the local, national and global level, 3) explore how time, place and sequence influence the unfolding of the related processes, and, 4) examine events as local manifestations of nonlocal perimeters. The ultimate aim of the research will be to explore economic change as a bearer of opportunity or threat, and to discuss the impact of economic change on particular instances of political mobilization. Funding permitting, the research aspires to explore claims making in peripheral or Mediterranean EU countries experiencing severe austerity measures; i.e. eurozone countries on EU/IMF bailouts: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and those receiving informal bailouts: Spain and Italy. In such a case, Political Claims Analysis will be applied to study how the claims of the challenging groups (activists, NGOs, networks) reflect those of parallel economic contention mobilizations (Arab, indignado, occupy), as well as by those they challenge (state and transnational global institutions and powerful economic groups). Mentions to 21st century environmental issues, such as climate justice, will also be explored. This research draws in part from my participation as Partner in the EC funded project “Mediterranean Voices: Oral History and Cultural Practices in Mediterranean Cities” (European Commission).

Francis Dupuis-Déri

  • Affiliation: Political science departement, and head of the Group of interdisciplinary research on antifeminism (GIRAF), Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
  • Bio & web: I did my Ph.D. in political science at UBC (Vancouver) and I have been a visiting scholar and a post-doctoral fellow in political science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and in Paris, at CEVIPOF. I have been doing research (participant-observation, interviews and discourse analysis) on radical (anticapitalist and anarchist) mobilizations within the alter-globalization movement, police repression and social movements, and the antifeminist counter-movement. Personal webpage :
  • Email: dupuis-deri.francis(at)
  • Keywords/Themes: Direct action, debate about 'violence/non-violence' within social movements, Black Bloc, deliberative decision making process within social movements, police repression, countermovement (antifeminism).
  • Focus places: The alter-globalization (North America and Western Europe) and police repression (North America and Western Europe).

Related work:

  • «The Black Blocs ten years after Seattle», Journal for the Study of Radicalism, 2010, 4 (2).
  • «Global protesters versus global elites : Are direct action and deliberative politics compatible ?», New Political Science, 29 (2), 2007.

Alexander Trechsel

Other scholars that show interest in the topic and we are connected to

Dr. Prof. Yochai Benkler

Ethan Zuckerman

Dr. Prof. Donatella della Porta

Dr. Prof. Joan Subirats

Dr. Prof. James Jasper

Dr. Prof. Charlotte Ryan

Dr. Andrea Teti

Dr. Zeynep Tufekci