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Infrastructures of progress and dispossession

Collective responses to shrinking water access among farmers in Arequipa, Peru

Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen

This article examines what economic growth and state versions of progress have done to small and medium-scale farmers in an urban setting, in Arequipa in southern Peru. The general reorganization of production, resources, and labor in the Peruvian economy has generated a discursive move to reposition small and medium-scale farmers as backward. This article analyzes how farmers struggle to find their place within a neoliberal urban ecology where different conceptions of what constitutes progress in contemporary Peru influence the landscape. Using an analytical lens that takes material and organizational infrastructures and practices into account, and situates these in specific historical processes, the article argues that farmers within the urban landscape of Arequipa struggle to reclaim land and water, and reassert a status that they experience to be losing. Such a historical focus on material and organizational infrastructural arrangements, it is argued, can open up for understanding how local and beyond-local processes tangle in complex ways and are productive of new subjectivities; how relations are reconfigured in neoliberal landscapes of progress and dispossession. Such an approach makes evident how state and nonstate actors invest affects, interests, and desires differently within a given landscape.

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Paula Kabalo

Attempts to explain the achievements of the Jewish side in the 1948 War of Independence have focused thus far on the military and political dimension and on the domestic social, economic, and ideological dimension, as reflected in the collective mobilization of the Yishuv society. This article reveals the role of additional players in the war, including institutions, organizations, and associations that provided social services; the individuals who headed them; the members who took part in operating them; and the recipients of their services. The article's underlying premise is that Jewish society largely owed its resilience during the war, and in its aftermath, to the functioning of these organizations.

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This Is the Time of Tension

Collective Action and Subjective Power in the Greek Anti-Austerity Movement

Atalanti Evripidou and John Drury

Greece has been one of the countries which most severely suffered the consequences of the global economic crisis during the past two years. It has also been a country with a long tradition of protest. The present paper reports a study in which we examined the ways in which people talk about subjective power and deal with the outcome of collective action in the context of defeat. Subjective power has recently become a prominent field of research and its link to collective action has been studied mainly through the concept of collective efficacy. The current study explored questions based on recent social identity accounts of subjective power in collective action. We examined participants’ experiences of subjective power before and after Mayday 2012, in Greece. Two different collective action events took place: a demonstration against austerity and a demonstration to support steel workers who were on strike. In total, 19 people were interviewed, 9 before the demonstrations and 10 after. Thematic analysis was carried out. Protest participants talked about power in terms of five first-order themes: the necessity of building power, unity, emotional effects, effects of (dis)organization, and support as success. The steel workers we spoke to experienced the events more positively than the other interviewees and had different criteria for success. Theories of collective action need to take account of the fact that subjective power has important emotional as well as cognitive dimensions, and that definitions of success depend on definitions of identity.

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Space of Hope for Lebanon’s Missing

Promoting Transitional Justice through a Digital Memorial

Erik Van Ommering and Reem el Soussi

This article explores how a digital memorial for forcibly disappeared persons contributes to transitional justice in Lebanon. It presents the joint establishment of an interactive digital memorial by a collective of nongovernmental organizations, relatives of missing persons, and youth volunteers. The case study is situated in debates on transitional justice, calls for democratization of collective memories and archives, and discussions on new information and communication technologies. The article demonstrates how the development and launch of Fushat Amal (Space for Hope) is shaped and confined by postwar sociopolitical realities that are all but favorable to memorialization or justice-seeking initiatives. It highlights how digitalized memories can open up spaces that remain closed in the offline world, enabling survivors to share their stories, build collectives, demand recognition, and advocate for justice. At the same time, the authors discuss the limitations of digital memorials in relation to questions of access, ownership, and sustainability.

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Cameron Bassiri

The present article provides an account of the chapter of volume one of the Critique of Dialectical Reason entitled “The Organization.” It is guided by the following questions: In what ways is the organization an advancement over the group in fusion and the statutory group? How does the organization contribute to the progressive dimension of Sartre’s progressive-regressive method? What is the status of the future within organized groups? It develops Sartre’s theory of power, rights, and duties, and shows that these concepts exist independently of the Polis. This makes possible a contrast with Plato and allows us to develop the implicit Sartrean concepts of moderation and justice in this chapter. I further show the internal structures and functioning of the organized group, Sartre’s concept of personal identity in such action, and the manner in which the future becomes concrete in such articulated action orientated toward an ultimate, collective aim.

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Stacy M. K. George

culture on collective action, recognizing that it is not only the organizational infrastructure that leads particular groups to mobilize. The internalization of faith commitments can also result in political behaviors that are able, in turn, to shape a

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Wolfgang Schroeder and Rainer Weinert

The approach of the new millennium appears to signal the demise

of traditional models of social organization. The political core of

this process of change—the restructuring of the welfare state—and

the related crisis of the industrywide collective bargaining agreement

have been subjects of much debate. For some years now in

specialist literature, this debate has been conducted between the

proponents of a neo-liberal (minimally regulated) welfare state and

the supporters of a social democratic model (highly regulated). The

alternatives are variously expressed as “exit vs. voice,” “comparative

austerity vs. progressive competitiveness,” or “deregulation vs.

cooperative re-regulation.”

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“Because we are the only ones in the community!”

Protest and daily life in poor South African neighborhoods

Jérôme Tournadre

This article is based on research conducted in various South African cities, in contact with organizations involved in demonstrating against poor living conditions. It aims to grasp these collectives outside of their interactions with the political sphere, by moving away from the traditional definitions of a “social movement.” The protesters are here examined in terms of their relationships with their immediate surroundings: the neighborhoods. The point is thus to emphasize the continuities that may exist between protest and daily life. Indeed, one may find elements in the ordinary and the everyday that shed light on some of the logics that structure mobilization and certain practices of protest.

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Mita Marra

In the last two years, a new period of reform has charged the Italian

public administration system with three principal objectives: modernizing

its organizational structure at the national and local levels,

reorganizing public employment, and improving the services rendered

by public institutions. To this end, the year 2009 signaled the initial

intensification of policies promoted by Minister Renato Brunetta—initiatives

that had been in the developmental stages in 2008. The reform

spirit of the government has given life to a first series of measures that

are urgently needed to remedy some of the most evident and critical

weaknesses in the public apparatus, such as absenteeism. At the same

time, these initiatives have been accompanied by the definition of the

principles and boundaries that will guide the process, as provided for

in Law No. 15 of 2009. This law came about in response to Legislative

Decree No. 150/2009, regarding the reorganization of public employment

and collective bargaining in the public sector.

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Dialogue for Development

An Exploration of Relations between Oil and Gas Companies, Communities, and the State

Florian Stammler and Emma Wilson

This introduction provides an overview of academic research and current practice relating to stakeholder dialogue around oil and gas development in the Russian North, Siberia and the Russian Far East. We discuss the two main strands of analysis in this special issue: (a) regulation and impact assessment; and (b) relationship-building in practice, with a particular focus on indigenous communities. We argue that an effective regulatory framework, meaningful dialogue, and imaginative organization of stakeholder relations are required to minimize negative impacts and maximize benefits from oil and gas projects. Self-interest, mistrust, and a lack of collective agency frequently lead to ineffective planning and heightened tensions in relations. We identify lessons to be learned from partnerships and initiatives already established in Sakhalin and Western Siberia, despite the lack of a stable legal framework to govern relations. This issue focuses on the academic-practitioner interface, emphasizing the importance of practical application of academic research and the value of non-academic contributions to academic debates.