Call for papers Volume 3 Issue 1 (May 2011): Repression and Social Movements

Special issue editors: Cristina Flesher Fominaya, Lesley Wood

Interface is a new journal produced twice yearly by activists and academics around the world in response to the development and increased visibility of social movements in the last few years – and the immense amount of knowledge generated in this process. This knowledge is created across the globe, and in many contexts and a variety of ways, and it constitutes an incredibly valuable resource for the further development of social movements. Interface responds to this need, as a tool to help our movements learn from each other’s struggles, by developing analyses and knowledge that allow lessons to be learned from specific movement processes and experiences and translated into a form useful for other movements.

We welcome contributions by movement participants and academics who are developing movement-relevant theory and research. Our goal is to include material that can be used in a range of ways by movements – in terms of its content, its language, its purpose and its form. We are seeking work in a range of different formats, such as conventional articles, review essays, facilitated discussions and interviews, action notes, teaching notes, key documents and analysis, book reviews – and beyond. Both activist and academic peers review research contributions, and other material is sympathetically edited by peers. The editorial process generally is geared towards assisting authors to find ways of expressing their understanding, so that we all can be heard across geographical, social and political distances.

Our fifth issue, to be published in May 2011, will have space for general articles on all aspects of understanding social movements, as well as a special themed section on

Repression and Social Movements

The question of repression is important for social movement scholars and activists. On a practical level, activists need strategies to deal with repressive forces – and build them by sharing their experiences and analyses. But the question of repression and mobilization is also very intriguing theoretically. Scholars have explored the contradictory effects of repression on mobilization (sometimes it inspires more mobilization, sometimes it effectively quashes it or pushes it underground; sometimes it is successful in characterizing protestors as legitimate targets of repression, and other times it delegitimizes the State and increases the legitimacy of the social movements; facing repression collectively can strengthen bonds between activists and strengthen movements or can lead to fragmentation; and so on). Without wanting to be prescriptive and purely in the spirit of prompting critical reflection we offer these questions as themes for possible contributions:

  • What are the effects of repression on activists and organizations (biographical effects, solidarity/trust within movement groups, evaluation of risk and participation)?
  • What are the effects of repression on movements (over time, within particular national or local contexts, transnationally)?
  • What are the effects of repression on civil society? What happens, as in Haiti or South Africa, when popular politics is targeted for repression but professional civil society is allowed to operate freely?
  • How are particular narratives and projects such as “the war on terror”, “Operation Green Hunt” in India, state paranoia about the “Third Force” in South Africa and so on affecting social movements’ strategies and experiences?
  • How does the existence of new technologies affect repression and how are social movements dealing with these changes?
  • How are supra national contexts, actors like multinational defense corporations and institutional frameworks like the European Union affecting repression of social movements on the national level?
  • What are the connections between social movement tactics and repression? In particular, what is the relationship between violent state repression and violent social movement tactics?
  • How are changes in repression intersecting with changes in social movements in different regions? Is a new global repertoire in protest policing emerging – or is there increasing fragmentation in the ways movements and repressive forces are interacting?

The deadline for initial submissions to this issue (volume 3 issue 1, to be published May 2011) is November 1st 2010.

For details on how to submit to Interface please consult the “Guidelines for contributors” on our website at contributors.html, and submit to the appropriate regional editor (