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Theories of Ppolitical Eevents. Do Pprotests and Rrevolutions Cchange Ssocieties?


For a long times protests have been considered as a result of various sets of social, political and cultural factors. Considering social movements and revolutions as dependent variables, scholars have tried to look for their origins in ideology, psychological dispositions, organizational structures and social networks, both offline and online. However, the recent developments in political theory and social research show that the reverse perspective on social movements and revolutions is equally valid: they are not only dependent variables, but also political eventsmechanisms of changing social structures and of producing new political subjects. Under what social and political circumstances protests can change societies and what hinders such a change? To address this question and to see this constitutive role of social movements and revolutions, we will consider sociological theories of political event.

Within this session, we will raise the following question: under what social and political circumstances protests can change societies and what hinders such a change? To answer these questions, we will discuss sociological theories of the event.

Session Oneone. Political Events. What is political event? How can it be identified and how is it different from routine social and political life? and Hhow does it change social structures and what factors are in charge of such a change? To address these questions, we will look at major theories of political event.?

Mandatory reading:

Sewell, William (1996). Historical events as transformations of structures: Inventing revolution at the Bastille // Theory and Society. 1996. ¹ 25. P. 841—881.

Moore, Adam (2011). The eventfulness of social reproduction. Sociological Theory, 2011. 29(4), 294–314.

Recommended reading:

McAdam, Doug & Sewell. William (2001). “It’s about time: Temporality in the study of contentious politics”. In R. R. Aminzade et al. (Ed.), Silence and voice in the study of contentious politics (pp. 89–125). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Fabiani, Jean-Louis (2013). Changes in Public Sphere. Eurozine., 2013(


Bourdieu, Pierre (1988). Homo academicus. Stanford University Press, 1988. Ch. 5.

MacKenzie, Iain (2008). “What is a Political Event?” Theory & Event, Volume 11, Issue.


Session Twotwo. The study of Political Events.Being a part of political theory, the study of event is often quite abstract and philosophical undertaking. However, in real life political events are not abstract concepts, they are real and have dramatic impact. How to juxtapose “high” theory of event and empirical facts? How to study political events and eventfulness? What are real cultural, social and political arrangements these events are embedded in? To address these questions, we will focus on empirical research on political event.In what cultural forms are events embodied?

Mandatory reading:

Polletta, Francesca (1998). “It was like a fever ...” Narrative and identity in social protest. Social Problems, 45(2), 137–159.

Wagner-Pacifici, Robin (2010). “Theorizing the Restlessness of Events,”. American Journal of Sociology, 2010.

Recommended reading:

Abbott, Andrew (. 2007). “Against Narrative: A Preface to Lyrical Sociology,” Sociological Theory25:1, 67-99.

William H. Sewell, Jr (. 2005). Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Chapters 3, 4, 7.

James Jasper, James (1998). “The Emotions of Protest: Affective and Reactive Emotions In and Around Social Movements,” Sociological Forum13: 397-424.

William Labov, William (. 2001). “Uncovering the event structure of narrative.” Georgetown University Roundtable, Keynote Speech.


Date: 2016-04-22; view: 1414

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