Criminalisation of dissent and activism

The working group on Criminalisation of dissent and activism aims to establish a network of researchers, students, activists and practitioners who are interested in studying and challenging practices of criminalisation of dissent, repression of social movements and curtailment of the right to protest. It wishes to provide a space to share experiences, knowledge and analyses about different cases, strategies and tools of criminalisation and strengthen the links between knowledge production, denunciation of and resistance to criminalisation and state violence against activists.

The working group aims to foster a greater understanding of strategies of criminalisation of dissent deployed by states, but also supported by a variety of informal practices by non-state actors that contribute to reinforce, justify or legitimate criminalisation of activists. It encourages comparative and historical research, exchange of ideas and experiences across borders in order to question the continuities between liberal and illiberal regimes, settler colonial and post-colonial states, and challenge the political order based on racial capitalism.

The working group is interested in a range of cases and aspects pertaining to the criminalisation of activism and dissent, such as (but not limited to):

• Concepts of criminalisation, dissent and activism
• Legislations and legal tools of criminalisation
• Trials and prosecutorial strategies against activists
• State and Non-state actors and agencies involved in processes of criminalisation
• Discursive practices of criminalisation
• Policing of social movements and protests
• Circulation of practices, strategies and tools of criminalisation across historical and geopolitical contexts
• Comparisons across historical and socio-political contexts
• Legacies of colonialism in the criminalisation and policing of activism and dissent
• Socio-genesis of practices and tools of criminalisation
• Short and long term impacts of criminalisation on activists, communities and societies

The working groups aims to meet annually at the EG conference, and develop initiatives and event throughout the year to continue think, develop ideas and foster collaboration among its members and beyond.

Working Group coordinators: Federica Rossi, Joanna Gilmore, Elian Weizman. Everyone interested in joining or finding out more about the WG’s activities may contact the coordinators at, or .