In the 1990s, a combination of neoliberalism, external funding and the gravitational pull of US approaches to studying social movements started to fundamentally reshape European research on social movements. In the process, a decontextualised, ahistorical approach to understanding movements came to prevail, with its political edge surgically removed along with any sense of activist analysis. Two decades on, the Council for European Studies’ social movements research network has brought together a newer generation of researchers shaped by movement participation and with an eye for history and local and national specificity. Together with the Transnational Institute and our sister networks in the ECPR and ESA we co-organised an activist / researcher symposium on social movements and the European crisis in Amsterdam, 2013; some reflections by participants are available here. A co-written piece with Anna Szolucha discusses the state of the art of European research on movements today.
The book Understanding European movements: new social movements, global justice struggles, anti-austerity protest, co-edited with Cristina Flesher Fominaya, explores the historical and international relationships between these three key waves of movement activism in post-1968 Europe and uses cultural context and comparison to explore how European movements work. There is a review by Parthena Xanthopolou-Dimitriadou for ROARmag, one by Benjamín Tejerina for European Political Science, one by Ana Dinerstein for Interface, one by Dana M Williams for Mobilization, one by Ívar Jónsson for Saga, one by Judith Hesselmann for Anthropological Notebooks, an interview with Cristina for the CES’ Reviews and Critical Commentary, discussion in a review essay by Stefan Berger for Moving the Social as well as other reviews behind paywalls (Sabrina Zajak for Forschungsjournal soziale Bewegungen, Simin Fadaee for Social Movement Studies, Chares Demetriou for Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Maria da Paz Campos Lima for Transfer: European Journal of Labour and Research). The introduction, a chapter on European movements and theory and the conclusion are all available online, and Cristina is interviewed in the Council for European Studies’ Critical Commentary on the book.