Accepted paper:

Identities of Portuguese urban social movements: class heterogeneity and modalities of action


Cédric Masse (Research Centre on Political Action - University of Lausanne)

Paper short abstract:

What are the identities of contemporary Portuguese urban social movements? We shall answer this question and provide etic interpretations by exploring their composition, actions (forms and contents of public sphere) and interactions (with outer social actors, allies and adversaries) from emic data.

Paper long abstract:

What are present-day Portuguese urban social movements? This ontological question entails definitions that remain strictly related to phenomenal observations in order to avoid transcendental idealism, both in its positive and negative signification that lead either to forms of apologias or, to the contrary, to types of nihilism, and eventually in order to be scientific. This Kantian criticism of the metaphysics of social movements that are nonetheless common within social sciences, as this appears with the "optimistic" authors presented by Mollona and Kalb in the abstract of this panel, therefore obliges us to rigorously construct our reflections on the nature of urban social movements out of the empirical experiences of the fieldwork. From an ethnography performed within three movements in Lisbon between 2010 and 2012, it appears, regarding their composition, a core dimension of their being, that they are trans-class. They seek a certain universality that no longer exclusively concerns the working class by attempting to integrate different social milieus - the middle classes, petty and middle bourgeoisie, popular strata - since the stakes within current capitalism are both socio-economic and cultural. Because the knowledge of the doing helps to know the being, albeit the former is not a sufficient condition and they may be analytically separated, we shall also address their modalities of action. Thus, these are the aspects that I intend to develop in my paper.

panel P084
The worldwide urban mobilizations: conundrums of 'democracy', 'the middle class' and 'the people'. Supported by Focaal and the IUAES Commission on Global Transformation and Marxian Anthropology