Social Movements and Civil Society

Social Movements and Civil Society Research Group

About us

The Social Movements and Civil Society Research Group (SMCSRG), established in 2014, is composed of academics and researchers working across City, University of London's schools of Law, Business, Policy and Global Affairs and Communication and Creativity.

SMCSRG aims to offer a forum for ongoing dialogue and debate amongst scholars across schools who are engaged in studies related to questions of domestic and transnational activism, economic and social justice, social movement strategy and civil society.


Dr Thomas Davies, Reader in International Politics

Dr Thomas Davies is Reader in International Politics at City, University of London. He works on transnational and historical dimensions of civil society and social movements. He is the author of NGOs: A New History of Transnational Civil Society (London: Hurst, 2013; New York: OUP, 2014), and The Possibilities of Transnational Activism: The Campaign for Disarmament between the Two World Wars (Leiden and Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2007)

Professor Dan Mercea, Lecturer in Sociology, School of Policy and Global Affairs

Dr Mercea has a lasting interest in the implications of new media usage, the appropriation and repurposing of new media in various domains of social and political activity as captured by multiple analytical perspectives including those in social movement, political behaviour, political and social psychology, science and technology studies. More specifically, his theoretical preoccupations have converged on cultural aspects of mobilization into collective action and informal civic learning; media theory with an emphasis on (new) media practices; democratic theory chiefly with reference to deliberative and participatory models of political engagement and finally sociological theory probing the interplay between technological innovation and social transformation.

His empirical research has concentrated on participation in contentious politics. In his recent studies, he has focused on the impact of networked communication on individual involvement in physical protest; on notions of shared collective identities among networked participants and finally, on organizational changes among digitally connected activist groups.

Dr Mauro Barelli, Reader in Law, City Law School

Dr Barelli is Director of the PhD programme, and teaches Public International Law, International Human Rights, and UK Constitutional and Administrative Law. Dr Barelli's research interests lie in Public International Law and International Human Rights. He is particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of minority groups' rights, the right to self-determination, and global justice. He has written extensively on the question of indigenous peoples' rights in international law, and a selection of his research can be found on the SSRN archive.

Dr Zahera Harb, Reader in Journalism

Dr Zahera Harb is a Reader in International Journalism. Her recent publications include an edited collection with Dina Matar titled 'Narrating Conflict in the Middle East: Discourse, Image and Communication practices in Palestine and Lebanon' (IB Tauris 2013) and a monograph titled 'Channels of Resistance: Liberation propaganda Hezbollah and the Media' (I.B. Tauris, 2011). She is review editor for the Journal of Media Practice. Her research interests include social movements and the media in the Arab world.

Dr Harb has more than 11 years experience as a journalist in Lebanon working for Lebanese and international media organisations.

Dr Lise Butler, Senior Lecturer in Modern History

Dr Lise Butler is a historian of modern Britain, specialising in political history, left-wing politics, and the history of the social sciences. Her current research is focused on ideas about the future and post-industrial society in British and American social science, politics and policy in the 1960s and 70s. She is also interested in the history of environmental activism and green political thought in Britain between the 1960s and 1980s. She is  a contributing editor to 'Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy', a member of the Churchill College Archives Committee, and a convener for the Britain at Home and Abroad Since 1800 seminar at the Institute for Historical Research.

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Leonie Fleishmann, Senior Lecturer in International Politics

Leonie Fleischmann is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Politics, City, University of London. Her research looks at Israeli peace activism, using a framework based in social movement theory. Her research interests include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, civil society and conflict resolution. Ms Fleischmann was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is currently a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at Roehampton University.

Professor Bobby Banerjee, Professor of Management, Bayes Business School

Bobby Banerjee joined Bayes Business School in January 2013. Prior to joining Bayes Bobby was Associate Dean (Research) at the College of Business, University of Western Sydney. He received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts and has held research and teaching positions at the University of Wollongong, RMIT University and the University of South Australia. Bobby's primary research interests are in the areas of sustainability, climate change and corporate social responsibility. Other research interests include critical management studies, Indigenous ecology, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and globalization. He has published extensively in leading scholarly journals and is the author of two books: Corporate Social Responsibility: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and the co-edited volume Organizations, Markets and Imperial Formations: Towards an Anthropology of Globalization. He serves on the editorial board of seven international journals and is a Senior Editor at Organization Studies.


SMCSRG maintains active links with the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London which has a number of on-going research projects related to civil society, food politics and governance. Find out more about the the activities of Food Policy staff.

The group also maintains links with the BISA Working Group on NGOs and Civil Society, co-convened by Dr Thomas Davies.

Ongoing Research Projects

"Protest and Global Democracy since 2011" (Dr Thomas Davies; Dr Holly Ryan; Dr Alejandro Peña)

Event Reports

The following reports are available as downloadable PDF's