Special report: Observing mobilizations
Reflections on the Tricks of the Trade in the Sociology of Social MovementsBy Hélène Combes, Choukri Hmed, Lilian Mathieu, Johanna Siméant, Isabelle Sommier
What do researchers do nowadays when they study social movements? How can one stimulate the sociological imagination to counter a threefold threat of routinization—of research objects, interpretation schemas, and methodologies? We do not argue here for any kind of “methodologism,” nor do we put forward “one best methodological way” to study mobilizations, for this would be to disregard the knowledge aims that are specific to each and every research project. We do not advocate any methodological hardening, nor do we seek to promote any standard empirical approach to studying social movements. This article and the special issue as a whole argue rather for a return to the principle of the unity of the social sciences, which we see as the only way to open up new questions without neglecting current research endeavors. Studying and making sense of mobilizations anew is what the researchers in this issue invite us to do, particularly by suggesting greater attention to how mobilizations arise in a particular time, space, and social order.  This special report is based on a seminar entitled...