From Rebellion to Revolution: Dynamics of Political Change

16th Berlin Roundtables on Transnationality, October 17 – 20, 2012, WZB

The recent waves of protests and demonstrations in many countries around the world have reintroduced the question of revolution and grass-roots system change to the political and scholarly agenda. Whether it is the fight against autocratic and corrupt regimes or protests against market-driven politics, in many of these cases revolution is in the air or already on the streets. Against this background, the 16th Berlin Roundtables on Transnationality examined the dynamics of political (and often violent) unrest that lead to, or at least aims at, fundamental structural transformations of political regimes and alterations in power relations between the masses and the elites. Our key questions were: Who makes revolutions and why? What influences the emergence and course of revolutionary situations? What are the immediate and long term outcomes? And what are successful modes of transformations to more democracy?

For further details, please see the background paper.

Conference Format
Based on an international essay competition, 53 applicants were invited to discuss their research, concerns and agendas with peers and prominent scholars in Berlin.

Discussions took place in three workshops:

Workshop 1 chaired by Wolfgang Merkel (Political Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/ WZB) and Christoph Stefes (Political Science, University of Colorado Denver/WZB),
Workshop 2 chaired by Jeff Goodwin (Sociology, New York University) and Sonja Hegasy (Middle Eastern Studies, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin), and
Workshop 3
chaired by John Foran (Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara) and Robin Celikates (Philosophy, University of Amsterdam)

The conference was accompanied by three public evening lectures:

Nancy Fraser, The New School
"From Neoliberalism to Liberation: Pathways of Emancipatory Struggle"

John Foran
, University of California, and Jeff Goodwin, New York University
"From Rebellion to Revolution: Chances for Political and Social Change?"
Amr Hamzawy
, University of Cairo/Member of the Egyptian Parliament
"Revolution and beyond - Egypt's Future"

For further information, please see the invitation flyer.

Irmgard Coninx Research Grant
After the conference, a jury awarded three three-month fellowships among the workshop participants to be used for research and academic networking in Berlin at the WZB. For more information on the grant winners, please click here.