Project Area F: Mobilization

Project F01: Fight for survival: The threatening of the Byzantine Empire under Heraclius and the restoring of its political, social, and religious order (ca. 610-630 C.E.)


Project F01 has selected what may be described as a re-ordering phase in the Eastern/Early Byzantine Empire – the period in question is 610-630 C.E. The goal is to analyze the (power) political, economic, administrative, cultural, religious, and communicative processes that enabled a hitherto unprecedented mobilization of human and other resources for purposes of restoring an existentially threatened order. Here two issues are of particular interest: a) contemporaneous changes in and to the emperor’s image (the poetry of Georgios Pisides is a chief witness here); and b) the function of the great restitution act passed in 630 C.E.

Project F02: From Carolingian order to société féodale? Threatened order and re-ordering around 900 C.E.


Project F02 studies the threatened order of the crumbling Carolingian Empire around the year 900, showing how actors in three of the Empire’s regions were able to mobilize legal texts of both worldly and ecclesiastical provenance and historical memory itself as re-ordering resources. The operant assumption is that although legal texts and historical memory were essential for practicing crisis management, such was the manuscript culture by then (900 C.E.) that their availability could no longer be assumed. This first had to be secured by a process of excerption, compilation, etc., from extant manuscripts, before actors could be mobilized for such purposes.

Project F03: Threat discourse in sermons and plays of the late middle ages and the early modern era


Project F03 sets out to examine such sermons and plays as were accorded a wide reception spanning the better part of three centuries (14 -17th). These sources are assessed in terms of their status as threat discourses. Three threat scenarios are treated: 'Eternal damnation at the Last Judgment', 'Jewish conspiracies’, and ‘Expo­sure of confessional heresy.' The issue to be clarified, in light of the above, is the extent to which diverse schemata (linguistic-textual, rhetorical-theatrical, and religious-social) are discernibly at work in the construction first of a threat per se, then of strategies of mobilization designed to counter the threat.

Project F04: Re-ordering in the aftermath of the Darién Scheme, a failed Scottish colonial project (1697/98-1700)


Project F04 studies re-ordering scenarios inside Spain’s colonial empire, with especial reference to the Panama region in the aftermath of the Darién Scheme, a failed Scottish colonial project (1697-1700). The focus of interest is twofold: 1) on what levels (local-global) and 2) by means of what mechanisms and communication strategies were resources mobilized. The project also attempts to clarify the extent to which other factors (the interests of local indigenous actors, time and resource shortages, structure of the Spanish colonial empire) impacted on these mobilization processes.

Project F06: Humor in social movements (1975-86): Dis-ordering und re-ordering by affective strategies of diagnosis and mobilization


Project F06 investigates two pivotal protest movements from the 1970s/1980s (the peace and anti-nuclear movement, feminism) with a particular question in mind: what role did humor play? Chief among the objects of investigation is the relationship between two of humor’s functions qua social cement: one is outwardly directed, i.e. subversive; the other acts inwardly. Light will additionally be shed on the role of emotions in mobilization performances and mobilization strategies.

Project F07:
Local orders under threat from land grabbing – Global civil society and international law as curse or blessing?


Project F07 examines, on the basis of concrete case studies from Peru, the Philippines, Senegal and Sierra Leone, the following issues:

  1. under what circumstances do local groups threatened by ‘land grabbing’ mobilize against the predations of globally operating firms, deploying more or less violent means in their defense?;
  2. what, in this connection, is the role of a) the transnational movement opposed to land grabbing and b) the dominant semantics of international law (as applicable from case to case)?; and
  3. how do local orders change as a result of protest as well as local-transnational cooperation?