Contemporary activism relies on the physical movement of people establishing forms of collaboration for political projects. This panel invites ethnographic descriptions of the multifaceted encounters, pollinations and discordances between local activist projects and visiting or mobile activists.
Where previous work on activism has highlighted its networked quality (Juris 2015; Maeckelbergh 2009; Acosta 2009) and the circulation of forms of action in international activist networks (Krøijer 2015), in this panel we wish to zoom in on the itinerant quality of contemporary political activism: the forms of collaboration and discordances itinerancy produces. Social movements and activists working on the fringes of institutional politics are involved in longstanding efforts to make a difference in their local social worlds while facing up to structural forces underlying the policies and practices of states and international institutions. These local struggles often involve overlooked forms of transnational mobility, such as travels to partake in each other's struggles, 'summit hopping' and summer rendezvous. This panel invites papers that provide ethnographic descriptions of the multifaceted encounters between local activist projects and visiting or mobile activists, as well as efforts to establish interim spaces of political activism, for example with a view to engage in protest events, express solidarity, exchange knowledge or providing resources and ideas. We are particularly interested in papers analyzing the collaborations and discordances that might emerge when groups meet, including questioning of 'foreign' ideas and practices, accusations of neo-colonialism, strategies to counter movement or impede distortions of existing power balances. We seek to go beyond simplifications of foreign activists as 'colonizer' or 'violent travelling vandals' by considering the purchase of concepts such as exchange, collaboration, friction and cross-pollination for understanding the dynamics through which mobility shape activism in specific localities.