New Zealand: Interesing Conference on Social Movements, Resistance and Social Change

Social Movements, Resistance and Social Change II: Possibilities, Ideas, Demands

Second Annual Conference and Social Change Forum

University of Auckland, 2-4 September 2015

Elites are delighted to be reassured that there never was a crisis and indeed there never will be. No financial crisis, which might interrupt profitability. No ecological crisis, which might despoil their inner compounds. No housing crisis, which might involve them becoming permanent tenants. No food crisis, which might mean that their plates and cups were not brimming over. If there was a crisis then it was a crisis for others, which as usual for the callous meant no crisis at all.

At the same time, we have seen the rise of radical new possibilities, ideas and demands. Democratically elected states contested the technocratic puppets governing them; those who had built nations asked that they no longer be routinely murdered in the streets; students reclaimed their universities from their twisted administrators; tribunal deliberations confirmed that tangata whenua had never ceded rangatiratanga; mass demonstrations rose against ‘austerity’; economists demanded confiscatory taxes on capital; novelists called the bluff on their illiterate rulers; socialist and feminist parties confronted arms traders.

This conference and social change forum invites participants to share their learning about the possibilities, ideas and demands actually existing in present economic, political and cultural arrangements. The event will be equally scientific and programmatic, combining the most important ideas and analyses of the present with concrete programmes for social change. Rejecting the alternatives of academic conference, political rally and direct action, this meeting intends to be none of these but all, and more.

This meeting will build on the 2014 Social Movements, Resistance and Social Change conference which brought together and provided a mapping of social movements locally and globally. That meeting provided a valuable overview of resistance and social change on behalf of responsibility, sustainability and social equality, the results of which will appear in a forthcoming issue of K?tuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online. The 2014 conference created sustained relationships across the left including the establishment of an eSocSci social movements network for developing and continuing these conversations. The 2015 event will extend this work of mapping and understanding social movements, resistance and social change. Beyond this, it invites discussion around questions of what is possible, what can be thought and what can be demanded today.

We invite participation in a variety of forms. The three days will provide considerable time for open discussion and debate. We therefore welcome participants who would rather not present a formal academic paper but can instead share their experience and learning with others. Participants wishing to attend but not present a paper are invited to email with an indication of interest.

At the same time, we invite formal theoretical and scientific contributions that will provide rigorous analyses of our present conjuncture. Formal papers can deal with any aspect of questions relating to social movements, resistance and social change, but we particularly invite considerations on questions of the new possibilities, ideas and demands that present themselves today. Papers might address, but are not restricted to, the following themes:

  • Founding political acts
  • The shapes and forms of politics
  • Struggles for sovereignty
  • The rise of social movements in Aotearoa and beyond
  • New logics of emancipation
  • Contesting power, contesting knowledge
  • The role of the academy in social movements and activism
  • Why thought matters
  • Logical revolts
  • Science, knowledge, truths
  • The fragility of power
  • Legal struggles and change at the level of the state
  • Art and politics – the aesthetics of politics
  • What ideas can do
  • What we do when we win
  • Thinking beyond capitalism, patriarchy and racism
  • Possibilities for new political subjects
  • Actually existing alternatives within economy and society today
  • Counterhistories and counterfutures

We invite submissions from presenters in the form of an abstract of no more than 500 words. Abstracts are due 15 June 2015 and notification of acceptance will be made by the end of June. Please email submissions as a document attachment to

We envisage four principal results of the conference and forum:

To strengthen existing relations and develop new forms of collaboration. Working on social bonds amongst those in resistance movements is our first objective.

To develop concrete programmes for social change, whether in the form of new ideas, social practices, laws and/or institutions. Our goal is to develop all of these, in part and in whole, ultimately in concert together.

Scholarly papers presented at the conference and forum will be invited for consideration for publication in a special issue of the journal New Zealand Sociology. Full length papers should be prepared for the September meeting, after which there will an opportunity to take on board feedback. The deadline for final submissions for the special issue is 31 October 2015.

Conference participants are also invited to consider publishing their work in the new journal Counterfutures: Left Thought and Practice Aotearoa. For further details visit:

To make an indication of interest in participation, to submit a paper, or for any queries please email

Nathalie Jaques, Campbell Jones and Shannon Walsh
School of Social Sciences, University of Auckland


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