How can we research social movements?

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 - 11:00 to Thursday, April 25, 2024 - 00:30

Event Time: 10.00 to 23.30 UTC/ 11.00 to 00.30 Irish Summer Time

This online symposium brings 28 researchers from around the world together discussing social movement research methods and the politics of knowledge.

This event is organised to celebrate the publication of the Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Social Movements (you can read the introduction here).

This is the first handbook to give engaged, activist and community-based research methods the same attention as traditional, distanced and positivist ones. It is also the first one to cover how movements are researched around the world rather than centring the global North, with authors and movements from all continents except Antarctica and a significant presence of Indigenous voices and research experiences. More about the book in this Global Dialogue piece and this New Books Network podcast.

In keeping with this global character, twenty-eight of the authors are joining us online in their different timezones around the world, discussing the research experiences shared in their chapters. This event makes their skill and insight available to people who are thinking of carrying out movement research whether as activists, in academic contexts or both. Please join us!
All sessions will take place at
Please check the time conversion for your particular location carefully!
There is a half hour break between sessions.
The event is free and open to everyone – you are welcome to come to any or all sessions that take your interest.


Session 1: understanding the regional specifics of social movement research: dialogues between researchers and movements in SE Asia

10 – 11.30 UTC (18 – 19.30 in Malaysia, 12 – 13.30 in Paris etc.)
ALTERSEA – Observatory of Political Alternatives in Southeast Asia, Cross-sectoral dialogues with movements in Southeast Asia: translating values, affects and practices in a polymorphic region

Session 2: feminism, Southern movements, ideologies and identities

12 – 13.30 UTC (17.30 – 19.00 in New Delhi; 15 – 16.30 in Ankara; 14.00 – 15.30 in Berlin; 1 – 2.30 pm in Sheffield etc.)
Sevil Çakır, Feminist methodologies in social movement studies: gender, positionality and research in practice
Minati Dash, Researching movement participation in the global South: what to do after discovering and recording plural and ambiguous narratives in the field?
Susann Pham, Researching ideologies and social movements: why and how?
Ayse Sargin, Researching identity and culture in place-based struggles

Session 3. Roundtable: How should we research social movements?

14 – 15.30 UTC (10 - 11.30 in Philadelphia; 16.00 – 17.30 in Kraków and Madrid; 15.00 – 16.30 in Dublin; 11 – 12.30 in Nova Scotia etc)
This session is organized as a roundtable bringing together book endorser Keisha-Khan Y. Perry with the four editors to discuss the challenges of researching social movements.
Keisha-Khan Perry, author of Black Women Against the Land Grab: the Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil
Anna Szolucha, Community-based research: approaches, principles and challenges
Alberto Arribas Lozano, Social movements as learning communities, researchers and knowledge producers
Sutapa Chattopadhyay, Making sense of the Narmada movements through Adivasi narratives
Laurence Cox, Participatory action research in social movements

Session 4: classical and contemporary modes of analysis

16 – 17.30 UTC. ( 17 – 18.30 in Exeter, Sheffield, Lisbon; 18 – 19.30 in Trento; 19 – 20.30 in Moscow etc).
Tiago Carvalho, Analysing protest events: a quantitative and systematic approach
Arnab Roy Chowdhury, ‘Repertoires of contention’: examining concept, method, context and practice
Aurora Perego and Stefania Vicari, How do grievances become manifestos? Developing frame analysis in social movement research
Clare Saunders, Using surveys to study demonstrators
Katrin Uba, Research methods for studying social movement outcomes

Session 5: Indigenous and global movement research

18.00 – 19.30 UTC (12.00 – 13.30 in Mexico etc.)
Carlos Y Flores, Visual research with Mayan social movements in Guatemala: a critical approach
Xochitl Leyva Solano and Axel Köhler, Research from, with and for Indigenous movements
Geoffrey Pleyers, Researching global movements: practices, dialogues and ethics

Session 6: the politics of social movement research

20.00 – 21.30 UTC (4 – 5.30 pm in the Caribbean, Providence and Washington)
Natasha Adams, Using research in movement strategy
Geri Augusto, Learning within freedom movements: using critical oral history methodology
Steve Chase, Civil resistance research: how can we make our work more useful to activists and organizers?
Joanne Rappaport, Participatory research as activism: Orlando Fals Borda and the Latin American tradition of engaged research

Session 7: researching online and media activism

22.00 – 23.30 UTC (4 – 5.30 in Illinois; 8 – 9.30 am THURS 25th in Melbourne etc.)
Cinzia Padovani, Media and communication activism: doing ethnography with ultra-right and progressive movements.
John Postill, Doing digital ethnography: a comparison of two social movement studies
Details of the authors and chapter abstracts can be found here: