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CfP Resistance and New Movements in the Urban

Call for papers – Special Issue and Workshop on

Resistance and New Movements in the Urban

Antje Bruns & Daniela Gottschlich


The special issue aims to investigate processes, projects and (new) terrains of resistance in the urban. Urban social movements striving for environmental and climate justice, energy democracy or “the right to the city” have emerged all around the world. They oppose against the privatization, commercialization and commodification of nature, public spaces and infrastructure. They share the idea of creating new urban commons and democratic forms of controlling them (be that water and energy re-municipalization, urban gardening, repair cafés, do-it-yourself-and-with-others initiatives, fab labs, new types of housing etc.). As such resistance is only one characteristic of these (new?) social movements – a second one is their aim for changing and transforming the socio-ecological system fundamentally through new urban imaginaries. Thirdly these social movements address often simultaneously the immediate environmental condition and the underlying societal relations with nature including questions of power and justice.



Various research domains such as critical Sustainability Science, Political Ecology, Critical Geography, Social Ecology and Political Science have recently grasped these developments that offer alternative ways to cope with social-ecological crises under keywords like “social-ecological transformation from below” and “democratization of societal relations with nature”. However, a comparative and synergistic analysis of these contemporary struggles of resistance is still missing.


Therefore, the special issue will not only address processes of resistance and transformative change in the urban and discuss case studies but reflect in a systematic way on common features of and differences between these movements: What are conditions and causalities for their constitution and specific achievements in respect to transformative change? (How) do they conceptualize and ultimately shape societal relations with nature and what kind of strategies do they employ? (How) do they engage with social, environmental and ecological justice? What are the main obstacles they face? Are these contemporary urban movements really new? And finally we like to investigate if an analytical focus on urban movements is theoretically and empirically justified.



We invite empirical as well as theoretical contributions to the outlined topic.

As a crosscutting initiative we also aim at developing a joint theoretical-analytical paper together with the contributing authors of the special issue that lays down an analytical framework, and contrasts different approaches and conceptualizations. Therefore, a workshop of all authors is being planned for autumn 2016 to discuss all the papers and to review key characteristics of the analyzed movements.


The special issue will be published in a peer-reviewed Journal such as Sustainability or Ecology and Society.



Our timeline is as follows:

  • Abstract: 15th of March, 300 words – please send to both: and
  • Notification of Paper Acceptance: 15th of April
  • Full Paper Submission: mid of October, 8,000 words
  • Author’s Workshop: November 2016



Prof. Dr. Antje Bruns
Governance & Sustainability Lab
Fachbereich VI Raum- und Umweltwissenschaften
Universität Trier
Campus II – Behringstraße 21
54286 Trier



Dr. Daniela Gottschlich
diversu e.V. – Institute for Diversity, Nature, Gender and Sustainability
Schomakerstr. 60
21339 Lüneburg



Call for papers (PDF)

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