CFP: Quiet Social Movements


AAG 2017 – April 5-9, Boston

Quiet Social Movements & Everyday Life in the Urban Global South: Towards New Geographies of Social Change

Chair: Linda Peake, York University

Discussant: Sara Koopman, York University & University of Tempere

Organizers: Susmita Rishi, University of Washington, Seattle, Amy Piedalue, Australia India Institute and University of Melbourne

Popular and academic attention to social movements and activism often hinges on visible events or actions (i.e. street protests, legal reform efforts, organizational manifestos, etc.), and/or the efforts of marginalized peoples to make visible forms of oppression, violence, and suffering that continually sink beneath the surface of public attention or action. Activism in this context refers to any activity that “aims to engender change in people’s lives” and as an antithesis to “passivity”, includes many kinds of activities from survival strategies and resistance to sustained forms of collective action and social movements (Bayat, 2000). As Koopman (2015) establishes, feminist geographers have advanced the study of social movements and activism through a critical engagement with the politics of everyday life. This work emphasizes the significance of “small p” politics and the ways in which subjects’ lived experiences shape and are shaped by power – including in intimate spaces (like the home) and through mundane encounters with social institutions (from the family to the market and beyond). Geographies of social movements also specifically attend to the ways in which place and space shape processes and ‘terrains’ of resistance (Routledge 1994). Writing in the context of social movements and social development in the Middle East, Asef Bayat (1997, 2000) defines six types of activism: urban mass protests, trade unionism, community activism, social Islamism, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and quiet encroachment. In this panel, we aim to unpack and build upon these themes and to draw concentrated attention to quieter forms of social movement and activism, which are often intentionally and carefully embedded within place and ‘community’ and extend this analysis to the rest of the urban global South.

Further in this panel we want to pay particularly attention to the “quiet encroachment” type of activism and social movements where individuals, families and communities come together to bring about change in their everyday lives which may or may not fit into the conventional definition of social movements. We are interested in the ways in which such movements might demonstrate the agency and creative organizing of marginalized actors, while simultaneously pointing to the limitations of mainstream social and political organizing that may too easily be hijacked or co-opted in ways that reproduce marginality and suffering. Following Roy (2015) and Bayat (2013), amongst others, we also aim to elicit new narratives of social change in the global South that are not limited by the application of Western paradigms of failed states and reform-resistant societies, but instead explore the place-based modes of everyday social and political change operating in and through the global South.  In this regard, we also encourage potential panelists to think of the global South as a relational category rather than a binary term in opposition to the global North. Rather than defining the global South as a geographical category characterized by the location of a place on the globe (Sparke 2007), we conceptualize the global South as a non-cohesive set of spaces marked by historical marginalization, deprivation, and lack of access to resources, spaces which are simultaneously characterized by innovation, ingenuity and resistance to oppression.

This reorientation toward ‘quiet social movements’ in the urban global South opens the field of study beyond publicly visible social movements that follow a model of street protest and mass gathering and resistance, to consider more closely those more intimate social change efforts happening across cities in the global South – efforts which may be quiet and small in scale, and focus on small incremental change in the everyday lives of the community. While the actors in these movements might not always imagine themselves to be part of social movements, such ‘quiet movements’ may also be more numerous and in some cases bring about more substantive change in people’s everyday lives.

We seek panelists who through their empirical and theoretical research and interests can speak to the above issues, covering topics that may include, but are not limited to:

  • ‘Quiet encroachment of the weak’ in the urban global South,
  • ‘Invisible’ everyday social change,
  • Grassroots organizing at the margins of formal protest,
  • Community-based women’s organizing against intimate violence,
  • Conflict resolution and community-based peace building work,
  • Marginalized people’s movements,
  • Alternative protest strategies and modes of everyday resistance,

Please send enquiries and short abstracts before 7th October, 2016 to Amy Piedalue ( and Susmita Rishi (  We will create a panel of 4-6 scholars whose work intersects these questions. While the style of format will be a panel conversation, with short presentations (5-7 mins) by each author and then discussion, we will ask participants to send (short) papers in advance. It is our aim to eventually curate a special edition from the papers presented at the panel. Once we’ve selected abstracts that will be part of the panel, we will be approaching two Urban Geography journals with the proposal for the special edition.


Bayat, A (1997). Street politics: Poor people’s movements in Iran. New York: Columbia University Press.

Bayat, A (2000). From ‘Dangerous Classes’ to ‘Quiet Rebels’: Politics of the Urban Subaltern in the Global South. International Sociology 15 (3), 533-57.

Bayat, A (2013). Life as Politics How Ordinary People Change the Middle East, Second Edition. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

Koopman, S (2015). Social Movements in The Wiley Blackwell companion to political geography (Second ed., Wiley-Blackwell companions to geography). eds. Agnew, J., Mamadouh, Virginie, Secor, Anna Jean, & Sharp, Joanne P. Chichester, UK; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Routledge, P. (1994). Backstreets, barricades, and blackouts: Urban terrains of resistance in Nepal. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 12(5): 559–578.

Roy, A (2015). Introduction: The Aporias of Poverty in Territories of poverty rethinking North and South (Geographies of justice and social transformation; 24). eds. Roy, A., & Crane, Emma Shaw. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Sparke, M (2007). Everywhere but Always Somewhere: Critical Geographies of the Global South. The Global South, 1(1), 117-126.

New issue of ACME is out

From the editors:

The newest issue of ACME (15.3) has just been published! It features the amazing RGS-IBG ACME Lecture from Parvati Raghuram, a Themed Section on “The Housing Question Revisited” that includes a transcript of one of Neil Smith’s final presentations, delivered at the AAG Annual Meeting in 2012, and great articles from Martina Tazzioli and Joaquin Villanueva, Pablo Benson, and Martin Cobian. Enjoy!
 ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies
Volume 15, Issue 3, 2016



Locating Care Ethics Beyond the Global North
Parvati Raghuram, 511-533

Capturing Urban Change: Contrasts, Lapses, and Contradictions
Joaquin Villanueva, Pablo Benson, Martin Cobian, 534-560

Eurosur, Humanitarian Visibility and (nearly) Real-Time Mapping in the Mediterranean.
Martina Tazzioli, 561-579

Themed Section – The Housing Question Revisited

Introduction: The Housing Question Revisited
Henrik Gutzon Larsen, Anders Lund Hansen, Gordon MacLeod, Tom Slater, 580-589

Community Land Trusts – a radical or reformist response to The Housing Question today?
Mike Rowe, Udi Engelsman, Alan Southern, 590-615

Engels in the Crescent City: Revisiting the Housing Question in post-Katrina New Orleans
Chris Herring, Emily Rosenman, 616-638

Gender and the Housing “Questions” in Taiwan
Yi-Ling Chen, 639-658

Rereading “The Housing Question” in Light of the Foreclosure Crisis
Susan Saegert, 659-678

The Housing Question Revisited
Neil Smith, 679-683

For an Overt Politics of Software


I have recently been reading the work in geography on software/information/geodata, and there is a lot of good stuff there, but one large concern I have is that the work, in general, seems to be quite aloof, or detached, or trying to stay above the fray, to remain non-committal, as though that were the more professional, academic stance to take.  All this detachment seems to have produced an upshot that is something like: “with all the new technologies coming into our lives in the past 10 years or so, it is important to think through their implications instead of just adopting them uncritically.”  One piece even goes so far as to say that we shouldn’t try to judge if what software does is good or bad, we should just see it as productive, as making things happen, and then try to understand how it works.

While I am all for understanding how it works (technically and socially both), I think that if this is all the literature is willing to do politically (I have certainly not read all of it), then it is failing spectacularly to do what is needed.  I think we desperately need to explicitly engage the political/ethical questions that software raises, to discuss extensively what it means for software to be good or bad (again, both technically and socially), and to never cease having that debate.  One obvious example of what such engagement looks like is the free software movement, which for years has been joining the political battle by advocating something like a “code commons” and decrying the model of proprietary corporate code.  Oddly, the question of free vs. enclosed software rarely comes up in the literature, as far as I can tell.

For my part, I think what “the good” means in this arena is that people produce, distribute, and maintain code themselves, rather than having another entity (most often a large software corporation) do it for them.  Within those communities, the code should be common, which is to say it is freely shared (and never enclosed), because it is understood to be necessarily a product of a whole community’s collective intelligence.  And lastly, the skills to do this work (producing, distributing, and maintaining the code) should be widely distributed within the community.  The work should not fall to (or be hoarded by) a small group of experts.

Of course that is only one position, and it begs other positions and continued debate.  But as academics I think we should be waist deep in such debates, rather than hovering above them and declining archly to take sides.


Critical Geographies Miniconference

From the organizers:


We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 11th annual Critical Geographies mini-Conference, to be held Saturday, October 22nd at the University of Washington!

This year, the conference is being organized in collaboration with the Relational Poverty Network. Relational poverty analysis makes “poverty knowledge” differently by examining how poverty and exclusion are produced through dynamics of power, privilege, and positionality. We are particularly interested in the novel explanations and political insights that arise through relational analysis and methods, and welcome presentations on a variety of topics, by no means limited to poverty.

The theme for the 2016 conference is intersectionality, understood broadly.

We have organized this year’s conference in order to accept a greater number of submissions. Besides traditional paper sessions, we would also like to include student work on panels and in workshop sessions of “lighting talks”, where participants will offer a very brief presentation of their research interests or projects, allowing others to collaborate and provoke their thinking.

We invite the submission of abstracts and “working abstracts” for inclusion in the various presentation formats. The deadline for submission is September 23, and participants will be notified by October 7. More information can be found at

We ask that those who would like to attend without presenting also register so that we can plan accordingly.

Please contact us at with any questions

Trespass: Journal on Squatting


Trespass is an occasionally published journal collecting together reflections on personal experience, essays, papers, conference proceedings, interviews, discussions, letters and other interventions from individual squatters and collectives who are using squatting to promote social change. Trespass is self-managed, open access, and unfunded. It is multidisciplinary and publishes work in different languages.

We aim to provide authors with the possibility to publish in their own language. We consider that linguistic diversity can foster a greater literary quality to the materials being published. Thus, the print version of Trespass will most often contain articles in several languages, but special editions adapted to certain language communities will also be compiled and shared physically at affordable prices.

We aim to publish submissions of peer-reviewed articles and working papers on research topics connected to squatting struggles worldwide. Reviewers for this kind of texts are selected for their knowledge of the subject matter, with a diversity of background preferred. Theory can be written in any kind of format, we encourage authors to develop a diversity of styles to reach readers. Find the submission guidelines here:

On the other hand, the website will be used to spread info about squatting struggles. Our blog and twitter account are open to all formats: communiques; pictures; manifestos; news updates; calls for solidarity; etc. The focus is on facilitating communication between squatters and activists worldwide, and to contribute to the networks that are aligned with squatters, to expand the visibility of their claims and actions.

More information on the reviewing system and the kind of texts we publish in the two sections, namely theory and interventions, are defined in the call for papers: // twitter/trespassnetwork //

Just Released: The Handbook of Neoliberalism

In which I have a chapter arguing we should stop talking about neoliberalism immediately.  (The editors are very patient people…)

The Handbook of Neoliberalism edited by Simon Springer, Kean Birch and Julie MacLeavy is now available. This new volume, published by Routledge, includes over 50 chapters from leading researchers in the field and stands as the largest collection ever assembled on the topic. At over 600 pages it is intended as a reference volume, and the editors hope you might consider asking your local library to carry a copy. More details can be found here.

Judith Butler’s new book

A new book from one of the world’s leading philosophers brims with ideas about gender, collective action and insecurity. Judith Butler giving a talk in Barcelona on November 15 2015. Credit: Some rights reserved. It is impossible to under-estimate the exceptional contribution to political understanding provided in the writing of Judith Butler. Her work,…

via Gathering and assembling: Judith Butler on the future of politics — openDemocracy

CFP: The Materiality of Nothing

The Materiality of Nothing will be a one day symposium at Lancaster University on 14th July, 10.00-17.00. It will bringing together practice and perspectives on negotiating the absent, unseen and unknown across art, science and social science. Across the arts and sciences that we call ‘zero’ ,‘absence’ or ‘nothing’ remains a potent and powerful entity shaping the way we make sense of the world. It is staggering to reflect that 95% of our universe is invisible to human sensing; the provocation of the unknown and unseen is arguably at the core of creative thinking in the arts and sciences.

This event brings together a range  perspectives on materialising the absent, unseen and unknown to reflect on the following questions:

  • How can ‘nothing’ be embodied?
  • How does it feel to encounter the immaterial and how might we negotiate it?
  • How might mathematics – as a speculative ‘messenger’ to and from the unsensed – be understood as a medium for generating touch and relationship (or not)?
  • How might absence, uncertainty be used as provocations and tool for creative thinking?
  • What can this offer in terms of understanding relationship and non-relationship, affect and non affect?

The event will provide an opportunity to extend conversations initiated by the AHRC funded ‘Dark Matters’ project which considered the provocations around Thresholds of Imperceptibility.   It aims to building on the success of a workshop at Lancaster (2015) and to develop a network of researchers working with the interstices between presence and absence from the arts and humanities, the social and physical sciences.

Speakers include: Anna Lovatt ( SM University, Dallas) , Gary Sangster ( Director Arts Catalyst) Charlie Gere ( Lancaster University) Bron Szerzinski ( Lancaster University) Liz deFreitas (Manchester Metropolitan University) Rebecca Fortnum ( Middlesex University) Ian Bailey and Laura Kormos ( Lancaster University).

Registration:  Please sign up via Eventbrite

Please note: There will be  is a small registration fee of £15 to cover lunch and refreshments throughout the day. The link to payment will be emailed to all participants prior to the event.

Call for drawings, notebooks and things we think with : As part of the
event there will be a session on Negotiating the Imperceptible. We invite
workshop participants to submit small drawings , notebooks or other object they
use in thinking around the intangible.

To submit a work, please send an image and description email Sarah Casey.

Gentle Geographies

Silence rather than speaking.  Vulnerability rather than power.  Weakness rather than strength.  Rest rather than action.  Connectedness rather than autonomy.

As someone tangled up in the tradition of democracy, I too often assume the latter terms are self evidently good.  And so I am not in the habit of thinking in the former terms.  But they are just as necessary to democracy.  In that spirit, I post the following call for submissions…


Deadline for submissions and booking – 14th June.

Submissions are invited from researchers (at any career stage) addressing gentle concepts and/or methodologies for the first of two one-day seminars.

Following the Gentle Geographies session at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2015, the seminar series, will explore and extend the themes considered there through two one-day seminars:

  • Seminar 1: A Gentle Alertness to Geographies of the (Non)human & (Ir)Responsibilities, 28th June 2016 at the University of Exeter
  • Seminar 2: A Gentle Alertness to the Geographies of Disabilities, (In)Justices & Activism(s), September 2016 at Newcastle University (Date and CFP to follow. Confirmed speakers include Kye Askins and John Horton)

The seminars are being funded by the Participatory Geographies Research Group, Geographies of Justice Research Group, the Spatial Responsibilities Group at the University of Exeter and the School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape at Newcastle University.

Purpose of the seminars

The intention is provide a supportive environment for scholars at different stages of their career for engaged dialogue, creative exchanges and critical discussion/appraisal of the potential for ‘new’ conceptual and methodological directions in human geography. We hope to explore new themes and to return to those from the interactive session at the RGS-IBG AC2015, such as ‘gentleness’, ‘silences’, ‘quietness’, ‘gentle ways of knowing’, ‘doing’, ‘action’, ‘activism(s)’, ‘transformation’ and ‘progressive change’. We are also seeking to problematise the notion of ‘gentleness’ in all its shapes and sizes.

Seminar outline

Each seminar will take the following format:

  1. ‘Open Responses’ (10 minutes) from Nick Gill, Krithika Srinivasan, Laura Smith and Jonathan Cinnamon to the themes of the seminar in relation to their own research, teaching and practice;
  1. ‘Interactive Explorations’ (5-minutes) from up to ten researchers (at any stage) addressing gentle concepts and/or methodologies (two parallel sessions);
  1. ‘Where have we come? Where are we going?’ World Cafe Style session exploring the seminar theme and possible outcomes/publications plans.

Cost and Bursaries

Those who are able are asked to provide a voluntary contribution of £10 and cover their own travel costs. Five travel bursaries (for travel from within the UK) are available for each seminar allocated on the basis of relevance and need. Applicants will be asked to provide a summary of their research interests in the seminar topic (no more than 1 page) including what they feel they will gain from the event. Applications will be selected which most closely reflect the goals and orientation of the Working Groups, and these will be ranked as follows:

  1. Postgraduate or unwaged
  2. Holds junior academic temporary post with no source of funding
  • Holds junior permanent post with no source of funding
  1. Holds senior academic post with no source of funding

To take part

To register your interest please contact including a 250 word abstract if you would like to present one of the ‘Interactive Explorations’ (point 2 above). Deadline for submissions and booking – 14th June.


Dr Matt Finn

Lecturer in Human Geography

@mattmattfinn | Website – course related tweets @MFGeog
Geography, College of Life and Environmental Science | University of Exeter

@exetergeography | Website


CFP: Ed Soja and Jackie Leavitt

See details on Critical Planning Journal’s website here:|/call-for-papers/

CPJ invites all forms of submissions on the life and contributions of Jacqueline Leavitt and Edward W. Soja. In 2015 the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA lost two leading urban planners, thinkers, and activists. We invite contributions from friends, colleagues, collaborators, and students, as well as other activists, scholars, journalists, artists, students, and professionals in the form of personal reflection, academic analysis, creative writing, poetry, visual art, film, etc. The format is open.

Jacqueline Leavitt inspired academics, community members, and activists with her critical calls to action and fierce commitment to justice. As a champion of gender equity, Leavitt’s research and community work revealed inequalities in housing and labor, and featured the experiences of women in domestic and international contexts. In an interview with Progressive Planning Magazine she noted that she “entered urban planning believing in its ability to support social movements through both rigorous research and ethical practice,” an approach she embodied in her teaching and scholarship, and instilled in her students. As we consider the future of planning, Leavitt’s legacy will undoubtedly guide those who wish to center the struggle for justice as they connect scholarship and activism.

Edward W. Soja was one of the great lights of late twentieth century human geography and driving voice behind the spatial turn in critical social theory. He developed what is arguably the most elegant conceptualization of the socio-spatial dialectic, and brought to light intersections in the spatial philosophies of Henri Lefebvre, bell hooks, and Michel Foucault. Soja then went on to initiate a dialogue between Marxism and poststructuralism at a time when these debates were at their most vitriolic. These efforts culminated in the creation of spatial trialectics and a robust space for Marxist-leaning geographers to engage with questions of alterity and thirdspace. Throughout, the question of postmodernism in the geography of urban and regional restructuring remained a grounding problematic for his scholarship, particularly in the context of Los Angeles, the city that was considered “exceedingly tough to track.” It was Soja’s commitment to the theory and praxis of social justice that remained the unifying concern.

Please send submissions to by July 1, 2016.

CRITICAL PLANNING JOURNAL is a peer-review journal founded and run by graduate students at the University of California, Los Angeles, and housed within the Department of Urban Planning.

Guest Editors: Susan Ruddick for Soja content: sue.ruddick [at] utoronto [dot] ca and Nina M. Flores for Leavitt content: nina.flores [at] gmail [dot] com.

Questions: please contact Managing Editor Kenton Card: kentoncard [at] ucla [dot] edu.