From movements to cause fields, with Laure Bereni

DEC 01, 2021 | 12:00 PM TO 1:30 PM



Online Event


December 01, 2021: 12:00 PM-1:30 PM




Society and Protest Workshop



Laure Bereni, Centre Maurice Halbwachs, Paris, presents her paper, "From movements to cause fields: Rethinking the architecture of protest in the context of movement institutionalization" at the final Society and Protest Workshop of the semester under the theme of "Insider-Outsider Strategies".

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This article introduces the concept of women’s cause field, which refers to the relational structure of groups mostly devoted to the advancement of women in a variety of social settings, cutting across the line between civil society and political institutions. Unlike the women’s movement, the women’s cause field encompasses a set of both extra-institutional and intra-institutional mobilizing structures. This concept expands on scholarship on institutional activism, and on field and network theory. Beyond the case of the women’s movement, it provides a new framework – the notion of cause field – to capture the architecture of specialized collective protest in the era of movement institutionalization, distinct from, and complementary to, the concept of social movement.


Laure Bereni is CNRS Research Director (permanent research professor) in sociology, and a faculty member of the Centre Maurice Halbwachs – a research center affiliated with the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris. In 2021-22, she is Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research interests lie at the intersection of political sociology, the sociology of gender and race, and the sociology of work and organizations. Her doctoral research focused on the movement for gender parity in France (La bataille de la parité [The Battle for gender parity], Paris, Economica, 2015). Based on her reflection on this case, she introduced the concept of women’s cause field (espace de la cause des femmes). Over the past few years, she has been working on corporate diversity initiatives in the U.S. and France, with a focus on the dynamics of organizational legitimization. She is leading a new collective research project (ProVirCap) on “responsible capitalism” in three business areas: New York, Paris and Madrid. She recently published « The Women’s Cause in a Field. Rethinking the Architecture of Collective Protest in the Era of Movement Institutionalization » (Social Movement studies, 2021) and « Au-delà de la confrontation : saisir la diversité des interactions entre mondes militants et mondes économiques » [Beyond confrontation: Capturing the diversity of interactions between activist worlds and economic worlds] (Revue française de sociologie, 2021) [with S. Dubuisson-Quellier].


Zachariah Mampilly is the Marxe Endowed Chair of International Affairs at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College, CUNY and a member of the doctoral faculty in the Department of Political Science at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the Co-Founder of the Program on African Social Research ( He is the author of Rebel Rulers: Insurgent Governance and Civilian Life during War (Cornell U. Press 2011) and with Adam Branch, Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change (African Arguments, Zed Press 2015). He is the co-editor of Rebel Governance in Civil Wars (Cambridge U. Press 2015) with Ana Arjona and Nelson Kasfir; and Peacemaking: From Practice to Theory (Praeger 2011) with Andrea Bartoli and Susan Allen Nan. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Affairs, Jacobin, The Hindu, Africa’s a Country, N+1, Dissent, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post​ and elsewhere. He has held fellowships with the Institute for Advanced Study (New Jersey), the Open Society Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Fulbright Program.