CfP: Voice and Space: New possibilities for democracy in Southern Europe?

Together with Melissa Garcia Lamarca, I’m organizing a panel for the Political Studies Association in Manchester in April next year, on democracy, the Indignados, and voice and space.

Since the start of the crisis in 2008, people have been taking to streets across Southern Europe, particularly in Spain, Greece, and Portugal. These countries have embodied a rise in popular protest and made us question traditional forms of liberal democracy, and indeed, also capitalism.

While anti-austerity and anti-capitalist protests are by no means new phenomena, the forms of dissent employed by what we like to refer to as the Indignados raises questions of what really constitutes political participation, especially in terms of what forms are considered legitimate and recognised as political actions. In Spain, for example, many have criticised the Indignados for a range of faults including lack of clarity, not having elaborate – and institutionally “relevant” – political programmes, or not presenting a unified front or ambitions to become a political party. Yet the Indignados have already commenced in reconfiguring what constitutes political action; for instance, the movement makes use of repertoires of action pertaining to aesthetics, emotions, and spatial occupation. What impact do such repertoires have on the current liberal democracies? What kind of democracy is possible, and what does it look like? How can we integrate these forms of action into its conceptualisation?

For this panel, we welcome papers that either 1. Describe these new repertoires of action in relation to Southern Europe, either comparatively or as singular cases; 2. Analyse their impact on the current theoretical landscape of political participation and mobilisation incited by these forms of protest, or 3. Combine components of 1 and 2.

Papers questioning or discussing the following themes are particularly welcome:

  • -  The connections between place-specific radical democratic practices and transformative politics at a larger scale
  • -  The enactment of prefigurative politics through processes of mobilisation and organisation
  • -  The processes of politicisation of those engaged in struggles over democracy
  • -  Forms of participation beyond radicals having a voice in policy-making
  • -  The politics of space and the right to a decent dwelling
  • -  The politics of aesthetics and its expressions
  • -  Consensus decision-making and its critiques
  • -  Marxist and post-Marxist theories of democracy and movements

    Please send your abstracts of no more than 250 words by October 1 to

Download the Call for Papers here: PSA Voice and Space.

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