Location: School of International Studies, via T. Gar 14, Trento - Room 108
Time: from 15:00 to 17:00
- Karlo Basta, Department of Political Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
- Jens Woelk, School of International Studies, Trento
In recent years, political scientists have developed increasingly sophisticated conceptual and theoretical tools for the understanding of political change. While much emphasis has been placed on the role of critical junctures and historical processes, the related concept of political events has received less analytical attention. Those scholars who do engage in event-based analysis suggest that events, similarly to critical junctures, broaden the scope for political agency. Building on this foundation, this paper serves two functions. First, it provides a conceptual clarification of political events, distinguishing them from occurrences, processes, and critical junctures. It builds on William Sewell Jr.’s insight that the differentia specifica of such events is their symbolic-ideational content. Second, it distinguishes between backward-plotted events, where occurrences are invested with meaning after they take place, and forward-plotted events, where political actors create the meaning of events they know will take place in the future. While the former allow for relatively greater play of agency, the latter are framed explicitly in order to reduce the scope for political agency at the moment in which they happen. The paper elaborates and demonstrates the utility of this conceptualization by reference to the Catalan nationalist mobilization between 2006 and 2010.