Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Theorizing Social Movements in Southeast Asia

TWSC 30th Anniversary Lecture Series on Social Movements in the South

Vincent Boudreau
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science
City College of New York, USA

2 March 2007, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Asian Center Conference Hall
Romulo Hall
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City

This talk proposes an approach to the comparative study of social movements that incorporates the conditions of under-developed, repressive, poorly institutionalized, or deeply impoverished settings into the analysis. Where political institutions are less established, where protest more likely encounters repression (rather than organizational routines) and where public policy making processes do not allocate most state resources or activity, social movements feed on distinct triggers, develop different laws of motion, and pursue different objectives than those commonly assumed in established theory. The talk suggests a strategy for identifying systematic variation in the parameters of social movements, and then illustrates these ideas with consideration of contemporary Southeast Asian, and especially Philippine, protest. In the end, the talk seeks a way toward a more broadly integrated approach to the study of protest and political contention.


The Third World Studies Center Lecture Series on Social Movements in the South interrogates the relations of contention and collective action to democracy in contemporary history. It focuses especially on movements in the South, using a variety of cases of recent national and cross-border mobilization and protest. The series will address the following questions:Are social movements in the South agents of democratization? How do social movements contribute to (or hinder) the democratization process in various spheres (local, regional, and transnational)? How do deepening interstate relations affect social movement politics? What role do Southern social movements play in the wider global political arena? Are social movements in the South always engaged in contentious politics? How do they interact within the boundaries of institutional politics? Given the present historical conjuncture, what lies ahead for social movements in the South?

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