Geoffrey Pleyers

The goal of the initiative Social Movements in the Global Age (SMAG) 

Geoffrey Pleyers is an FNRS (Belgian Fund for National Research) researcher at the CriDIS (Centre for interdisciplinary research: democracy, institutions, subjectivity) and a professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain. He is President (2014-2018) of Research Committee 47 "Social classes and social movements" at the International Sociological Association.

He teaches the sociology of social movements and globalisation at the Université de Louvain and at EHESS. He has been a visiting professor at several universities in Latin America (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad de Chili, Universidad Alberto Hurtado (Santiago), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos in Rio, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, etc.).

He is the author (with Breno Bringel) of Open Movements. For a global and public sociology of social movements and of Alter-globalization. Becoming Actors in the Global Age (Cambridge: Polity). He has coordinated twelve journal issues or collective works including La consommation critique (Critical consumption) (Paris, DDB), Movimientos sociales. De lo local a lo global (Mexico, Anthropos), Mouvements sociaux. Quand le sujet devient acteur (Social movements. When the subject becomes actor) (Paris, Editions de la MSH).

The goal of the initiative Social Movements in the Global Age (SMAG) is to promote intellectual debate and collaboration among researchers in the sociology of social movements and global studies. Based on empirical research and theory, it aims to develop a sociology of the global age, starting with the notion that our age is dominated by the transition from an era of globalisation, as an expansion of modernisation and markets established by economic growth, toward a 'global age' in which the challenge of jointly managing a planet and limited resources transform and strengthen the interdependence of humanity across the planet, as well as the relationship between humanity and nature. How do individuals and groups seek to become actors of their lives and their world in this context? What are the processes that promote their participation in local, national and global decisions that will have an impact on their existence? How do they seek to meet the challenges of democracy, the concept of which should not be restricted to institutional politics?

Based on a sociology of action and of social movements on the one hand, and global studies on the other, this initiative by the Collège d’Etudes Mondiales places particular focus on the democratic and environmental challenges. We also intend contributing to the development of a more global sociology, based on three criteria:

  1. Linking the scales of action and analysis, beyond methodological nationalism and methodological globalism.
  2. Promoting discussion and collaboration with researchers from the Global South and integrating the theories, practices and visions of the research community and players from various regions of the world, with particular focus on the 'Global South'.
  3. Promoting multi-location and multi-level research.

Current research:

  • Nuit Debout : un renouveau de la démocratie ? (All nighter: democratic renewal?)
  • De la mondialisation à l’âge global (From globalisation to the global age)
  • La reconfiguration des mouvements écologistes (The reconfiguration of ecologist movements)
  • Mouvements sociaux au Mexique (Social movements in Mexico)

Research notebooks

Open Movements: for a global and public sociology of social movements: a platform that aims at providing critical and empirically-based outlooks on social movements and new expressions of social and cultural transformations: the ones which make the media headlines and those which discreetly transform daily life and politics alike, at the local and global scales.


Selected Bibliography 

Geoffrey Pleyers (2020) The Pandemic is a battlefield. Social movements in the COVID-19 lockdown, Journal of Civil Society.

Movimientos sociales en el siglo XXI. Perspectivas y herramientas analíticasBuenos Aires, CLACSO, 2018

Avec Breno Bringel, (2017), Protestas e indignación global, Buenos Aires, CLACSO

Avec Laurence Cox, Alf Nilsen dir. (2017) Social movement thinking beyond the core, Interface volume 9(2)

Avec Manuel Garza M. (2017) México en movimientos. Resistencias y alternativas, México: Porrúa.

Alter-activisme. De nouvelles formes d’engagement, Dossier de la revue « Agora. Débats jeunesse 73», 2016.

Avec Brieg Capitaine, (2016), Mouvements sociaux. Quand le sujet devient acteur, Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (Dossier de presse)

Glasius M. & Pleyers G. (2013) The moment of 2011: Democracy, social justice, dignity, Development and change, vol. 44(3): 547–567

La consommation critique, (ed.), Paris, Desclée de Brouwer, 2011.

Alter-Globalization. Becoming Actors in the Global Age, Cambridge, Polity, 2010.

Juris J., Pleyers G. (2009) “Alter-Activism: Emerging Cultures of Participation among Young Global Justice Activists”, Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 12 (1), p. 57-75

Social Movements in the Global Age (SMAG)

- Closed project -



Quels futurs possibles ? De la crise au changement social

Séminaire Les mouvements sociaux face au coronavirus
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L’entraide comme réponse à la pandémie

Séminaire Les mouvements sociaux face au coronavirus
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Relation à soi et gestion des émotions : le cas de l’angoisse chez les alter-activistes

Séminaire | Mardi 12 janvier
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One year after the beginning of the pandemic, where do democracy and social movements stand?

Social movements and social change in a global pandemic | Thursday 17 December 2020
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See all researcher activities
Published at 6 January 2017