Author Archives: Gast


Donald Trump’s foreign policy agenda has been characterized as unpredictable, unprecedented and – after a telling neologism of the president himself – unpresidented. In this blog post I will argue that the constituent parts of Trump’s foreign policy are all but new. What is new is their combination. Moreover, while Trump’s Jeffersonianism-Jacksonianism stands in stark […]

Conclusion: Outlook for Studying the Interaction between Social Movements and Institutions

This blog series reflected on the interactions between social movements and institutions. These interactions have proven to be among the most complicated areas of social movement research, especially because causality is very hard to establish: (how) do movements influence formal political institutions – and vice versa? How to study, understand and explain the consequences of […]

Buchankündigung – Der Nahostkonflikt: Geschichte, Positionen, Perspektiven

Die Berichterstattung über den Nahostkonflikt gehört seit Jahrzehnten zum Standardrepertoire der Nachrichten. Hierzulande hat fast jeder eine Meinung zum israelisch-arabischen Konflikt, doch wenige verstehen, um was es den Konfliktparteien eigentlich geht, was in bisherigen Verhandlungen erreicht worden ist und wo genau die Hürden für eine Konfliktregelung liegen. Dieses Buch liefert eine kompakte und zugleich anschauliche […]

Repertoires of Counter-Contention: Conceptualizing Institutional Responses to Social Movements

The ways in which political authorities respond to societal challenges is a key element in the interaction between social movements and state institutions. Two conceptual distinctions are important when studying such repertoires of counter-contention: authorities’ responses may (1) aim at either including or excluding challengers, and they may (2) either respect their autonomy or try […]

Institutionalization: A one way process? The case of Birdlife Malta

This article disputes the conceptualization of institutionalization as a one-way process. Instead, it argues that social movement organizations can make use of contentious tactics while being institutionalized. The environmental NGO Birdlife Malta provides an example to illustrate this argument.

Occupy Wall Street – The United States’ first post-modern Movement

Occupy Wall Street has disappeared from the public radar, yet it is worth a second look. Through its structure and identity, it has probably become the United States’ first post-modern movement. Outside of formal institutions, people created their own utopian spaces in the hope for political and social innovation.

Institutions in a critical agenda for social movement studies

Social movements challenge systems of rule and thus institutions. They are expressions of the non-identical, the gaps and fissures in today’s world. That’s what makes social movements interesting and relevant for a critical research agenda. Thus, more than applying ready-made concepts to cases, scholars should inquire into the interactions between social movements and institutions as […]

Contested Perceptions of Contentious Politics: Framing as Translation

How is it that the actions of institutions come to be perceived as unjust by a critical mass? And how does this perception translate into collective action? Adopting a framing perspective, this article proposes to investigate the meanings that people attach to specific events as key for understanding interaction dynamics between social movement and institutions.

Ruin through formalization? Processes of social movement institutionalization: the example of the Interventionist Left

The article traces a formalization process within the Interventionist Left (IL). Against theoretical expectations that would assume a de-radicalization of aims and repertoires of protest, we find that due to the network’s multi-track strategy, and the claim to radicalize existing social debates, the IL did not de-radicalize despite a formalization process and a partial integration […]

Indignados and Occupy: Channeling Political Dissatisfaction through an Anti-Institutional Approach

Between 2011 and 2012 many public spaces in global North were indefinitely occupied by people dissatisfied with the political system. The origin of this dissatisfaction, however, is not clear. This article rejects that the origin was either a popular longing for direct democracy or for an end to neoliberalism. It problematizes the frequent assumption that […]