Riot as a global political concept

eleonora cappuccilli's picture
October 25, 2018 to October 26, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Labor History / Studies, Political History / Studies, Sociology, Urban History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies
October 25-26, 2018 • Instituto de Altos Estudios Sociales (IDAES) • Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Argentina)

It is often said that we live in a new age of riots. However, despite the pervasive use of “riot” as a way to name heterogeneous phenomena, we sense a certain lack of conceptual clarity around what precisely the "riot" implies. A theoretical and conceptual deficiency first of all, which seems mimetic to the riot’s very definition as something with neither roots nor explanations, neither past nor future, something constitutively “spontaneous” and immune to political organization. In short, theorists and philosophers of riots need to show that these unbridled “spontaneous” expressions of “force” have emerged as a form through which emancipatory demands are made and as part of a broader “repertoire” of class struggle.

To that end, this conference aims to think the concept of the “riot” on a global scale. Ports, as transnational places par excellence, are among the sites where the apparition of the riot first appeared. Against this background we propose to develop a genealogical approach that could show the multiple emergences and historical paths of the riot, thereby grappling its continuities without constructing an all-encompassing sociological study. Secondly, we aim to analyse the riot beyond its conceptual “isolation.” The riot will be inscribed along a conceptual constellation that includes, though not exclusively, “revolution”, “strike”, “rebellion”, “revolt”, and “commune” with the aim of illuminating the riot both as a concept and as a performance. Thirdly, we aim to grapple with the problem related to the processes of subjectivation in relation to this constellation. In this sense, we consider how, in the context of the riot, contradictions may become apparent as they concern specific power relationships, in particular between: capitalist exploitation, racial domination, and sexual oppression.

We invite scholars and militants to present papers that broadly engage the following themes:    

• Riot and Revolution
• Riot and Strike
• Riot and Property
• Riot and the Commune-form
• The times and spaces of Riots
• Riot and Race
• Riot and Feminist Struggle

The conference will consist of four workshops related to these themes. As such, we ask you to specify which of these six themes you intend to intervene in. Please submit a title and abstract (max. 500 words) of your intended participation as well as a short CV to by June 8, 2018. Abstracts may be submitted in English and Spanish. Translation will be available. Participation is free but registration is required. Limited grants are available to cover your stay (5 grants of 200 euros; 1 grant of 400 euros for Global South applicants). In your e-mail to us, please indicate if you want your application to be considered for a grant and if your attendance depends on it.

Organizing committee: Maura Brighenti (IDAES-UNSAM), Lucía Cavallero (Universidad de Buenos Aires), Eleonora Cappuccilli (Edith Saurer Foundation, Austria), Niccolò Cuppini (SUPSI), Mithilesh Kumar (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Patna ), Alejo Stark (University of Michigan).

Preliminary program

Thursday, October 25, 2018

9.00 – Registration and Opening Remarks
10.00 – Workshop 1: The Feminist Tide and the Strike
15.00 – Workshop 2: Riot, Property, Commune
19.00 – Keynote lecture: Verónica Gago and Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar

Friday, October 26, 2018

10.00 – Workshop 3: Times and places of the riot
15.00 – Workshop 4: Riot and Revolution
19.00 – Keynote lecture: Joshua Clover