This blog will be discussing the cross-fertilisation between the study of social movements and human geography. Emerging originally from the notes taken during the preparation of a doctoral thesis on space and mobilisations in the Palestinian refugee camps of Beirut, it will focus primarily on attempting to bring together the concepts and questions on social movements and mobilisations as developed in each discipline. Indeed, after the “spatial turn” of the 1980s, the study of social movements has increasingly focused on issues of space and place, through the study of place-based mobilisations but also via highlighting specific geographical dimensions of classical mobilisations. In the meantime, political and human geography have included social movements in their research focus, originally under the scope of diffusion studies and, as critical geography was developed, through the prism of spatial injustice. Nonetheless both disciplines, in their meetings, remain largely impervious to one another, because of a lack of conceptual cross-fertilisation. On the one hand, the inclusion of space and place in social movements keeps falling into a consideration which approaches social movements as if “at the head of a pin”, and space only as a product and a container. On the other, a focus on mobilisations still often fails at grasping the processes of social problems construction, emergent mobilisations, or the issues attached to claim framing. In other words interdisciplinarity between social movements studies and geography remains largely a work in progress, partially because of the lack of “translation” between the two disciplines.
It will do so through three main types of notes:
– Notes of general conceptual discussion, presenting concepts and their application and developing a literature review.
– Reviews of relevant books and articles.
– Excerpts of fieldwork highlighting the relevance of these debates.