Social Change: Conference at Birkbeck

“Reflections on Social Change: Metamorphosis or Transformation?”

An interdisciplinary graduate conference being held at the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (London) on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th May.

The conference is organised around three related themes:

1. Social Change and Social Movements: Historical Perspectives

Social change has often been achieved through the action of social movements, whose objectives ranged from partial transformation to radical change. What enabled or caused their success or failure? What are the differences between older and more recent social movements? How can past experiences inform present struggles?

2. Life and Law: Possibilities of a New Relation

Tahrir Sq, Zuccotti Park, Syntagma Sq, Taksim Sq, Sao Paulo and many more are joining to the list every day, calling for change, and practising common principles. Could these common principles help us to think about other forms of politics, law, and life? Can we think about another relationship between politics, law and life that dismantles biopolitics? Or is it too late? Should we search for a space out-of-law, if such a thing were possible? Are we doomed to live in a Kafkaesque novel? Or can the age of riots light the way to constitute a new law, politics and life?

3. Feminism: Oppression, Violence and Transformation

How can feminist heritage and knowledge, produced especially since the 1960s, be used today to produce analyses of women’s oppression that can take into account the complexity of the contemporary? Why does violence against women persist as a devastating phenomenon despite many changes to women’s rights and freedom? What categories and theoretical tools can help us understand how to transform the multiple forms taken by women’s oppression?


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