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Conference, call for papers:

Spaces and tactics of politics: Transnational connections, neoliberalisation and the reshaping of civil society

10-11 December 2015

University of Turku, Finland

Keynote speakers:

Gail Lewis, Birkbeck, University of London Sandro Mezzadra, University of Bologna Jemima Repo, University of Helsinki

Neoliberalisation has emerged as a powerful yet multifaceted and contextually specific force that re-draws the boundaries between state and economy, collective and individual, public and private. Although neoliberal ideologies have sought to depoliticise relationships of power and to present the political field as one of ‘no alternatives’, various parts of the world have simultaneously witnessed waves of politicisation and wide-ranging acts of protest that challenge such political trends.

Questions of transnational migration, class inequality, gender and sexual identity, and contestations of new and rearticulated forms of racism have become key issues in current politics. The expansion of media technologies (social media, the Internet) has transformed political engagements in a far-reaching way. Many contemporary protests are cross-border in nature, drawing on and creating transnational networks and forms of solidarity. Recent political mobilisations include, for example, mass protests against austerity policies, asylum and refugee activism, the worldwide spread of Occupy movements and other forms of anti-capitalist mobilisation, anti-racist and anti-fascist group activities, feminist and queer activism, and the proliferation of groups politicising lifestyles and everyday life. On the other hand, we have also seen the rise of far-right and anti-immigration movements.

This conference maps this terrain of political struggles and, while acknowledging established forms of political action such as social movements and NGOs, seeks to unearth and make visible the spaces and tactics of political contestation that tend to escape the conventional purview of politics. In this way, the conference seeks to advance our understanding of the logics of political struggles and resistance in the current political conjuncture. How are these struggles organised? What kinds of social change do they envisage and how do they strive to achieve these? What tactics do they employ and what bonds of solidarity do they engender? How do people contest forms of power in their mundane, everyday practices and activities? How are diverse axes of inequality contested or reproduced in political engagements? Where do contemporary struggles of class, gender, race and ethnicity take place, and how are they articulated and organised?

We welcome empirical, theoretical and methodological papers engaging with these questions in diverse thematic and geographical contexts. The questions and themes addressed may include but are not limited to:

  • Social movements and NGOs
  • Political activism
  • Post/neo-colonialism
  • Migration, refugees and asylum seeking
  • Politics of race and (anti-)racism
  • Politics of class, labour and precarity
  • Politics of gender and sexuality
  • Feminist futures
  • Urban change, neoliberalism and activism
  • Politicisation of everyday life
  • Politics of consumption and environment
  • Challenges to and visions of democratic participation
  • Affect and politics

Please email abstracts of 250 words for either 20-minute paper presentations or complete panels, together with a max. 150-word bio, including name, institutional affiliation and position, phone number and postal and email addresses, to:

Abstract deadline: 15 April, 2015. Participants will receive notifications of acceptance by 15 May 2015.

Conferece fee: 80 EUR (40 EUR for PhD students), includes lunch and refreshments for the duration of the conference

For further information, please visit the conference website

For general inquiries, please contact Suvi Keskinen ( or Suvi Salmenniemi (


  • Turku Study Group for Political Sociology (TURPO)
  • Research project Post-ethnic Activism in the Neoliberal Era. Translocal Studies on Political Subjectivities, Social Imaginaries and Alliance-Building (Academy of Finland)
  • Research project The Puzzle of the Psyche: Therapeutic Knowledge and Selfhood in a Comparative Perspective (Kone foundation)
  • PhD, University lecturer, Mari Toivanen
  • Division of Sociology, Department of Social Research, Assistentinkatu 7, 20014 University of Turku

Email:, Tel. +358-2-333-5023,