Point Sud conference 2021

Struggles for ‘democracy’ in Africa before and during the pandemic - Encounters from the Global North and South


Lamine Doumbia, Social Anthropology, German Historical Institute, Centre de recherches sur les politiques sociales, UCAD II, Dakar, Senegal – Fellow of MIASA – University of Ghana
Antje Daniel, Sociology, Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna, Austria
Louisa Prause, Political Science, Latinamerica Institute Freie Universität Berlin
Nina-Kathrin Wienkoop, Head of Programme Democracy and Society; Helmut-Schmidt Foundation
Sabrina Zajak, Head of Department at the at the German Center for Migration and Integration Studies (DeZIM) e.V., and Professor at the Faculty of Social Science at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.


Social movement research is still predominantly concerned with protest and activism in the Global North. While scholars based in Latin America have pushed the research on Latin American social movements as well as theory building, protests in Africa and their relationship to the theoretical debates in social movement studies have only recently come into focus.

The literature on African social movements largely focuses on the so called ‘Arab Spring’ while the ‘African Uprisings’ that took place since the mid 2000ds all over the continent received less attention. Yet the there is a vast diversity of mobilizations such as mobilization for regime chance, anti-mining movements or protests against large-scale agro-industrial projects, labour movements, mobilization for women’s rights or the rights of the LGTBQI* community or recent mobilizations for environmental justice and against the climate crisis. These movements not only claim more democracy, but also practice different forms and principles of democracy from within. While there is a considerable amount of interesting research and theorizing being produced from within the different countries, this research continuous to be largely invisible in the international social movement literature.

This conference aims to bring together researchers from Africa and other world regions, including Latin America, Asia and Europe to gain a more nuanced picture of the existing empirical knowledge on social movements and protests in Africa and their link to democratization processes. It will contribute to portray a nuanced picture of these movements and protest events with their various links to democracy thorough fostering an inter-regional and interdisciplinary debate between researchers. The conference also pays attention on how the pandemic situation affected the dynamics between social movements and (de-)democratization in different localities, while at the same time putting these struggles in a historical and global perspective. Through the conference we intend to introduce theories and concepts from the Global South, especially African states, into international research on democratization and social movements. We also discuss how this Southern perspective helps us to uncover preexisting Northern prejudices in the conceptualization of social movements in terms of democratic statehood and practices.

The conference takes place from 16.-19. November as a hybrid event at University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal. The conference is organized in cooperation with The Research Committee 47 of the International Sociological Association, Social Movements and Social Classes (RC47), and also builds upon the existing African research networks which were established at previous Point Sud Conferences.

Struggles for ‘democracy’ in Africa before and during the pandemic - Encounters from the Global North and South  

Luttes pour la "démocratie" en Afrique - Rencontre avec des chercheurs et des militants du Nord et du Sud  


Preliminary Program: Workshop Point Sud, Dakar 17. – 19.11.2022
Before the conference (Tues. 16 Nov. 2021): Excursion to   Y’en a marre’s office 

Day 1: Wed. 17 Nov. 2021 

Zoom:  https://unige.zoom.us/j/61983976751?pwd=MWh2MU1ONEJnVG9BU0lKSncyT0FOUT09
ID de réunion : 844 1561 7391 
Code secret : 551639 

4 – 6:30 pm (Dakar/GMT) 
5  – 7:30 (CET) 

Welcoming 1 (Point Sud and CREPOS)
Amadou Dramé (IHA-CREPOS): Welcoming
Issa Fofana (Point Sud) 

Welcoming 2  

Lamine Doumbia, German Historical Institute, Centre de recherches sur les politiques sociales, UCAD II, Dakar, Miasa, University of Ghana

Antje Daniel, Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna

Louisa Prause, Latinamerica Institute Freie Universität Berlin

Nina-Kathrin Wienkoop, Helmut-Schmidt Foundation

Sabrina Zajak, German Center for Migration and Integration Studies (DeZIM) e.V., and Ruhr-University Bochum 

Moderation: Sabrina Zajak, German Center for Migration and Integration Studies (DeZIM) e.V., and Ruhr-University Bochum 

New waves of movements in pandemic times in different world regions
Geoffrey Pleyers, FNRS-UCLouvain, Vice-President for Research of the International Sociological Association

South-South dialogues in social movement research
Breno Bringel, State University of Rio de Janeiro 

The Indian farmers’ movement in the time of Covid 19
Simin Fadaee, Manchester University  

Logiques dé-coloniales et visibilisation des invisibles: les mobilisations sociales et citoyennes des collectifs de jeunes en Afrique de l'Ouest. Le cas de Y en a marre
Saliou Ngom & Cheikh Niang, IFAN-UCAD 


Day 2: Thu. 18 Nov. 2021 

Zoom: https://unige.zoom.us/j/66028761649?pwd=eThTRmNxOHBHTWY1QzkyNUJ5Mncrdz09
ID de réunion : 660 2876 1649
Code secret : 123456

9 – 10:30 (GMT) 
10 – 11:30 (CET) 

Social movements and democracy in Africa

Moderation: Antje Daniel, University of Vienna  

Africa's Crash and Burn
Bond Patrick, University of Johannesburg  

Lutter pour une politique publique négociée : les OSC et la réforme foncière au Sénégal - 2012-2016
Phillippe Lavigne Delville, IRD 

Whither social movement unionism: Organised Labour's response to the Covid 19 Pandemic in South Africa
Mbuso Nkosi, University of Witswatersrand  

11–12:30 (GTM) 
12 –13:30 (CET)

Social movements and democracy in Africa

Moderation: Antje Daniel, University of Vienna 

Jihade governance in Northern Mali: Socio-political orders in contest
Georg Klute, University of Bayreuth 

Le mouvement feministe Malien. Des instruments juridiques aux réalités quotidiennes
Fodié Tandjigora, Université des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Bamako 

Le mouvement social religieux et la (dé)construction de la démocratie au Sénégal
Mamadou Bodian, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar 

2 – 3:30 (GTM)
3 – 4:30 (CET) 

 Epidemies, controle et surveillance en contexte colonial: les maladies quarantenaires en Afrique de l'Ouest. Etude de cas du Sénégal 1848 à 1960
Biram Ba, UCAD, Dep. d'Histoire, DHI-CREPOS 

La solidarité et les pratiques informelles dans les organisations communautaires dans deux villages de la région de Ziguinchor 
Koly Fall, UCAD, Dep. de Sociologie, DHI-CREPOS 

L'action de l'église catholique au Sénégal: la question de l'enseignement 1817-1945 
Etienne Badji, UCAD, Dep. d'Histoire, DHI-CREPOS 


Nina-Kathrin Wienkoop, Helmut-Schmidt Foundation 

Lamine Doumbia, German Historical Institute, Centre de recherches sur les politiques sociales, UCAD II, Dakar, Miasa, University of Ghana 

Discussions with

Aimie Bouju, DeZIM-Institut

Niklas Steinkamp, Ruhr-University Bochum, PhD student from Scuola Superiore Italy

Day 3 Fri. 19 Nov. 2021 

Zoom: https://unige.zoom.us/j/69396505938?pwd=ZzhQR3VQbWVMTWI1cmRFalFPUEFaUT09
ID de réunion : 693 9650 5938
Code secret : 123456

9 –10:30 (GMT) 
10 – 11:30 (CET)

Democracy within social movements in Africa 

Moderation: Louisa Prause, HU Berlin 

Balancing commonalities and discord: informal workers in Ghana’s labour movement. 
Akua Opokua Britwum, University of Cape Coast, Ghana 

Successful democratisation movements. What happens to activists? Dieter Neubert, University of Bayreuth  

Networks, alliances and their potential for democratic change: A comparison of struggles against land grabbing in Senegal and Ghana Sarah Kirst, Freie Universität Berlin 

11-12:30 (GTM)
12-13:30 (CET)

Democracy within social movements in Africa 

Moderation: Nina-Kathrin Wienkoop, Helmut-Schmidt Foundation 

The government would become an enemy of the people: The Gambian refusal to accept deportation from Europe and the role of transnational social activism
Judith Altrogge, University of Osnabrück 

Three-Faced Activists: The Social (local), Political (national) and Economic (international) Embeddedness of Social Movements in Africa 
Janick Schritt
, Technische Universität Berlin 

3:30 – 5 (GTM)
4:30 – 6 (CET) 

Hybrid: Thinking beyond the box and moving forward. 

Coming together to discuss the key findings of the conference  

Moderation: Louisa Prause, HU Berlin 

5:15 – 6:15 (GTM)
6:15 – 7:15 (CET) 

Hybrid : Next plans towards the next ISA world congress: 

Moderation: Geoffrey Pleyers (ISA Vice-President for Research) & Sabrina Zajak (Vice-president of ISA Research Committee on Social Classes and Social Movement (RC47)  

Planning of joint publication
Moderation: Sabrina Zajak 


Lamine Doumbia, German Historical Institute, Centre de recherches sur les politiques sociales, UCAD 

Antje Daniel, Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna 

Louisa Prause, Humboldt University Berlin 

Nina-Kathrin Wienkoop, Helmut-Schmidt Foundation 

Sabrina Zajak, German Center for Migration and Integration Studies (DeZIM) e.V., and Ruhr-University Bochum