Vectors of Contentious Mobilization: From Below, From Above, or Sideways?

Key Note ZOiS Conference 2021

  • by Jan Kubik (Rutgers University/SSEES, University College London)
  • Chair: Gwendolyn Sasse (ZOiS Director)

This keynote lecture puts in perspective global trends in mobilization. Starting from the current Polish situation, it will reflect on four interrelated issues:

  1. the relationship between top-down and bottom-up mechanisms of mobilization,
  2. the role of mobilization resources, for example in cultural traditions or discourses,
  3. the intensifying mythologization of right-wing discourses, and
  4. the dilemmas of liberal counter-mobilizations that attempt to restore legal rationality (in the Weberian sense) while resorting to bottom-up means.

ZOiS Conference 2021 | Politics from Below: Reasserting or Transcending the Democratic Paradigm?

What do recent regional or global trends of mass protests tell us about the state of democracy and authoritarianism and about state-society relations more generally? The ZOiS Conference 2021 explores the factors shaping recent waves of protest activism. Are there similarities in the strategies of mobilization used across regimes, spaces, countries and regions?  What is the age profile of those who make themselves heard in different political settings around the world? What is the role of different off- and online-spaces enabling or constraining mobilization? Has Covid-19 changed the politics from below? Through dialogue between different academic disciplines and area expertise, the conference will assess whether regional and global trends of mobilization from below fit into a democratization paradigm or whether it constitutes a new, local and potentially more radical form of politics that transcends the dividing line between democratic and authoritarian regimes.