Collective action, social movements

Sustainability and consumption are intrinsically contentious domains, concerning the ongoing struggle between different visions of prosperity, justice and the good life.

Political action and social movements shape policy agendas, public debates and future arrangements around sustainable consumption. This is achieved, for example, through:

  • critiquing the dominant modes of consumption
  • imagining and experimenting with alternative forms of provision and social organisation
  • offering competing narratives about the environment and its future.

Our aims

This working group draws on interests and concerns across our Institute and the wider University - particularly those of Movements@Manchester - about the origins, practices and outcomes of collective contentious action, as well as what can be learned from thinking ‘with’ social movements and political critique.

Indicative publications

Alternative Futures & Popular Protest Conference

Since 2019 Movements@Manchester and members of the Collective Action and Social Movements Group have co-organised the major yearly conference Alternative Futures and Popular Protest, formerly held at Manchester Metropolitan University since 1995, see for more details and how to participate.


Our group overlaps in topic and members with Movements@Manchester, one of the biggest concentrations of social scientists researching protest, movements and political participation in the world. Movements@Manchester meets regularly as a reading group, and organises occasional seminars and international conferences such as Alternative Futures and Popular Protest. For more details, email Simin Fadaee or Luke Yates.

Working group leader