Conference Description

The 1st ALTERSEA conference aims to bring together researchers from around the world to reflect on the main issues studied by the Observatory in Southeast Asia: social movements and social activism, as well as less visible initiatives, marginal or infra-political forms of protest and resistance, and what we might consider social systems of political regulation.

We share the idea expressed by Della Porta and Diani (2020) that collective action does not always involve the formulation of political claims through conflictual and conventional repertoires. Collective action can also take the form of a direct response to common needs through a wide range of activities from alternative community living to various forms of mutual aid and assistance.

Our project aims to reveal social structures and functions that enable forms of autonomy and emancipation that go beyond the limits of activism: local systems that foster social symbiosis between humans and other species in the use of environmental resources; religious ethics and norms that determine the possibility of collective mobilization; complexes of social hierarchies related to specific territories, collective memory, ritual activity, and group cohesion; arrangements for political participation based on interpersonal loyalty; noncommercial networks of commodity transactions; and civil strategies for overcoming political subjugation.

All of these integrated phenomena lead to volatile group configurations and blur the boundaries between insiders and outsiders. This volatility can make individual trajectories seem contradictory, particularly when considering the coexistence of competing definitions of what is political, what is a collective resource (e.g., the commons), and how it fits into different scales (local, state, global) —for a detailed presentation of these issues, see the ALTERSEA’s argument.

To approach these phenomena, our contributors present their videos in line with the main themes of our six panels. An additional panel explores issues related to the current COVID-19 crisis, such as its effects on individual and public space as well as mobility; the increased tension related to identity and its political exploitation; the use of digital media as an alternative in the face of lockdown measures; the increasingly authoritarian stances of neoliberal-oriented hyper-personified governments; and the alternatives proposed across the social-health-environmental nexus. Three other panels were submitted to our scientific committee. They concern reactions to mass violence in Southeast Asia; the memory of 1965 events in Indonesia; and the participatory approach with the People’s Organizations (POs) to reflect on issues they are pursuing in the demand-making of the government.


Scientific argument, platform maintenance & digital adaptation

  • Gabriel Facal
  • Gloria Truly Estrelita


  • Stéphane Roland

Technical assistance

  • Eduardo Erlangga Drestanta