Rezension: Stefan Berger u.a. (Hg.), History of Social Movements

Stefan Berger / Holger Nehring (Hg.), The History of Social Movements in Global Perspective. A Survey, Basingstoke. Palgrave Macmillan 2017.

Rezensiert für den Arbeitskreis Historische Friedensforschung bei H-Soz-u-Kult von: Kyle Harvey, College of Arts, Law and Education, University of Tasmania.

This survey is momentous, and at over 700 pages, this collection serves an ambitious undertaking and as a provocative challenge. Its editors have positioned this volume as a response, in part, to recent interpretations of social movements as a democratizing path toward global modernity and a utopian expression of public demands. How global, Berger and Nehring ask, is social movement history? They position this collection as an opportunity to address the “unfashionability” of “the social” or “society”, seeking instead to connect lived experiences to politics and to the demands presented by social movements (p. 3). The editors hope to “conceptualize the relationship between agency, structure, and political, social, cultural and material contexts more precisely” (p. 4). In doing so, this collection contributes to the field of social movement history not by regarding “social movements as agents of modernization across the board” (p. 5), but as phenomena that are best understood by adopting a dialogue between history and the social sciences, studying social movements from a global perspective, and doing so through the approach of global history. That this collection features contributions on large swathes of the globe, including Latin America, North America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Europe, alongside several theoretical and a host of transnational perspectives is a testament to the bold scope of the book’s approach. Its aim, then, is to “bring back agency and time back into sociological research on social movements” (p. 8) and prompt historians, and sociologists, to look more carefully at emotions and culture in social movement research. The collection does go some way toward addressing shortcomings in the field of global social movement history, especially insofar as its contributions aim to bridge the divide between sociology and history, and demonstrate just what an interdisciplinary approach to the past and present of social movement research might look like.

This is not simply a collection of case studies covering social movements based in particular nations, regions, and continents. It works as a survey of conceptual, spatial, and thematic approaches to social movement history, suggesting ways in which scholars of social movements might think in interdisciplinary ways about how, where, when, and why social movement activity has operated in the past. This is, as the editors note, not a complete survey. There are no contributions on anarchism, revolutions, or religious movements. Instead, readers are offered a provocative opening section of three chapters on theory and method, an eight-chapter middle section comprising overviews of social movements on most continents, and a final section of eleven chapters examining transnational, thematic histories of particular movements. weiterlesen

Empfohlene Zitierweise
Kyle Harvey: Rezension zu: Berger, Stefan; Nehring, Holger (Hrsg.): The History of Social Movements in Global Perspective. A Survey. Basingstoke  2017 , in: H-Soz-Kult, 20.09.2018, <>.