Everyday Resistance of Kurds And Palestinians: Countering Domination via Nonviolent Means

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Friday 22 June 2018 to Saturday 23 June 2018

09:00 AM - 05:00 PM


Coventry University

Call for papers

Resistance informs us about power and, in particular, asymmetric power relations. Everyday resistance is an action taken by people who resist the multiple and multi-layered power relations that manifest themselves in the interactions in our daily life.  

Understanding everyday resistance can help us to understand these power dynamics and relations in context. Unlike visible forms of resistance such as rebellions, mass protests, riots, revolutions, and demonstrations, everyday resistance can be less visible and informal. Scott (1989) studied disguised–or seemingly invisible resistance–and argued that the form such resistance will take depends on the kind of power ranged against it, but is generally hidden below the surface and not formally organised.  More precisely, everyday resistance can be “interpreted as an activity in a dynamic interaction with opposition power”, which in Foucault’s reading is something ordinary people practice daily. Everyday resistance can also be presented as a continuum from public confrontation to hidden subversion. Bayat (2000) describes it as “quiet encroachment” and “advancement of the ordinary” which enables us to survive and protect ourselves. He went further to say that “these ordinary and often quiet practices by the ordinary and often silent people engender significant social changes” (Bayat 1997).

This conference will explore the power of everyday resistance among Kurds and Palestinians and the different shapes and forms this takes locally and transnationally. People of Kurdistan and Palestine have a long history of resistance and they have shown many examples of what James Scott called “weapons of the weak”.  In all three contexts, it is possible to find examples of nonviolent collective and individual actions which have deep symbolic and ideological underpinnings. Often everyday resistance practices intersect with organised political collectives that are much more visible than the typically subtle repertoires of everyday resistance. 

Specifically, this conference will ask the following questions: How do these oppressed groups use nonviolent forms of resistance to counter repression? What are the similarities and differences between the everyday resistance across these communities? What are the resistance practices that are central to daily life? What are the creative actions that make everyday resistance even more successful? An important theme of the conference will explore whether these communities can learn from each other’s nonviolent resistance practices.

We seek paper and panel proposals that engage with the questions mentioned above.  Both academic and non-academic (journalists, activists etc) participants will be welcomed. 

Potential themes of the conference include but are not limited to:

  • Hidden and unhidden forms of everyday resistance
  • Creative ways of resisting oppression
  • Resistance, elections and political participation
  • Culture, art, education and tradition in everyday resistance
  • Gendered aspects of everyday resistance
  • The role of youth in everyday resistance
  • Overcoming political control and criminalisation
  • Overcoming colonial legacy, partition and statelessness
  • Towards a transnational civil resistance?

Refreshments and lunch will be provided during the duration of the conference. We regret that we are not able to offer travel grants or other forms of financial assistance for the participants of the conference. 

Please email paper abstracts of no more than 300 words to events.CTPSR@coventry.ac.uk by 1 March 2018. 

Acceptance and rejections notices will be sent in mid-March 2018. A selection of conference papers will be chosen for inclusion in a proposed edited volume, and/or a special journal issue.

If you have any questions or comments about the conference theme, please contact Bahar Baser at bahar.baser@coventry.ac.uk