This project utilises comparative case studies in the UK and Australia to explore how new, technologically-enabled transnational repertoires of social mobilisation contribute to the shifting dynamics of civic stratification in the age of uncertainty. It will interrogate the relationship between the state, the market, individuals and civil society in the politics of the energy transition. Research in Australia and Britain will enable the transnational connectivities of such movements to be investigated. In traversing national boundaries, the new forms of social mobilisation can involve a delinking of politics from the state, recognising the redistribution of power in neoliberal globalisation, emphasizing civil society actions and targeting non-state actors. Furthermore, whilst mobilisations may be informed by global discourses, we are particularly interested in forms of transnational mobilisation that serve to extend or amplify geographically situated campaigns or initiatives, thus building on research on the ‘stretching’ of local civil society. In enrolling new technologies and technical knowledges (including, e.g., social media and communications skills, but also, for instance, knowledge of financial markets), the new mobilisations introduce new resources into the dynamics of civic stratification and particularly emphasize the pivotal roles of a cohort of ‘new enablers’ that deploy these resources to facilitate and coordinate transnational connectivities and actions. As such, the overarching research questions for the work package are:

  • What new forms of social mobilisation and translocal networking are facilitated by new communications technologies and how do these contribute to the shifting dynamics of civic stratification?
  • How are translocal actors engaged in geographically situated campaigns and initiatives, and how are translocal resources mobilised to enhance the capacity of local actors?
  • To what extent do new repertoires of transnational social mobilisation identify, enrol or target new objects of mobilisation beyond the state, and do impact on the relationship between citizens and the state?

In particular, the work package will investigate the development and impacts of new, technologically-enabled, transnational repertoires of social mobilisation in relation to the ‘energy transition’ from fossil fuels to sustainable post-carbon resources. The starting point will be divestment campaigns that have targeted investors and corporations involved in contentious fossil fuel extraction projects.

The research project team includes Dr Robyn Mayes and Dr Carol Richards (Queensland University of Technology).