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Lecture, Lecture series

Theoretical Reflections on Social Movements: contestation of liberal democracies and laboratories of democratic practices

Lecture by Holger Nehring (University of Sterling)

The online seminar is free and open to the public upon registration. For registration, please send an email to HISDEMAB@gmail.com

With some exceptions, sociological research first conceptualised social movements as a specific response to the perceived demise and collapse of what Martin Conway has called ‘the West European model of democracy’. Other more historically-orientated works has focused on the broader ‘dynamics of contention’ (Charles Tilly) in which social movements were just one parameter. More recent work in political science, sociology and history has considered the role of social movements within the field of democracy and democratic practices. This talk seeks to visit and revisit some of these conceptual and theoretical debates and explore where a historical sociology of social movements in the context of democracy might go. It will emphasise the historicity of conceptualisations of ‘social movements’ and ‘democracy’ and thus emphasise the need for reviving a historical sociology of social movements.

Holger Nehring is Professor of Contemporary European History at the University of Stirling, UK. He has published widely on the history of social movements, especially peace movements. Together with Stefan Berger co-edits the book series Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements. Among his latest publications: “Challenging the Myths of the Scottish Sixties” (in Moving the Social, 2020); “Remembering War, Forgetting Hiroshima: “Euroshima” and the West German Anti-Nuclear Weapons Movements in the Cold War” (in Ikenberry GJ & Gordin MD (eds.), The Age of Hiroshima. Princeton, 2020); “Grenzen der Demokratie?” Bundesdeutsche Friedensbewegungen und die Westarbeit der SED im Übergang von den 1950er zu den 1960er Jahren” [“Limits of Democracy?” West German peace movements and he SED’s Western Department from the 1950s to te 1960s], In: Berger S., Dietz B. & Muller-Enbergs H. (eds.), Das Ruhrgebiet im Fokus der Westarbeit der DDR (Essen, 2020); “Energy and War. Debates about Nuclear Energy in early-Cold War West Germany” (Groniek, 2020); The History of Social Movements in Global Perspective (ed. with S. Berger, Palgrave, 2017); Politics, Symbols and the Public Sphere (2005).

This event is part of the lecture series:
Lecture series in the academic year 2020/21
The Historicity of Democracy Seminar