Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Zentrum für Transdisziplinäre Geschlechterstudien

Thomas Burø: The social organization of resilience

Gastvortrag, hybrid
  • Wann 22.04.2024 von 16:00 bis 18:00
  • Wo HU Berlin, UL6, R2070a sowie Online (Zoom)
  • Name des Kontakts
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Veranstaltet von

Zentrum für transdisziplinäre Geschlechterstudien der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin,


How do social movement agents and activists cope with adversity and organized inertia? If the social, political, economic or just practical conditions you are up against insist on not changing, if they push back, over and over, challenging your ability to endure, if they do not give!––how do you handle that? Thomas Burø will present findings from a current ethnographic study of a social movement for diversity in the Danish industrial field of technology entrepreneurship. Extant research shows that activists are at risk of burnout. In the study, we link social movement agents’ and activists’ positions in the organizational field to their methods of coping. We find that those who thrive with activism and change agency are either the ones most enculturated in social organization for activism, or, at the other end of the spectrum, the ones who have their activism so closely aligned with the norms and values of the culture of technology entrepreneurship that they are assimilated into the system. The ones who struggle most with enduring are either experiencing systemic mechanisms against their socio-economic class and/or ethnic minority background, or they are not members of any activist social organization but most cope on their own. Our data show that organization matter: we pursue the idea that activist resilience is a product of social and cultural organization, providing activists with capacities to cope and to thrive. With this study we focus on the social organization of activism. By doing this we forward the argument that resilience, the ability to cope with adversity, is a common resource that activists use and reproduce. As it is with any other commons, it requires social organization to maintain, reproduce, and use. Thus, to study individual coping and robustness we must study the social organization of resilience.

The study of the social organization of resilience is a sub-project of the project Diversity in Technology: Finding new ways to solve wicked problems. The project is led by Associate Professor, Lærke Højgaard Christiansen, Ph.D., Technical University of Denmark. It studies how the industrial field of technology entrepreneurship in Denmark works with diversity, mapping the strategies and tactics applied by social movement agents for increasing social diversity in tech. The work is supported by the Carlsberg Foundation, grant CF21-0500.



Thomas Burø, Ph.d. is Assistant Professor at the department of Engineering Technology and Didactics, Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Thomas uses ethnography to study activists and people who organize for sustainable and socio-economic change. He is particularly interested in anarchist, feminist, and queer organizing. The high point of his career so far was an e-mail from Ian McKaye, singer of hardcore punkrock band Minor Threat, recognizing his work. Thomas has published in Organization, Culture and Organization, Gender, Work, Organization, and Organizational Ethnography, and in anthologies with Springer and Routledge. He regrets he does not speak German.



Mirjam Fischer


Weitere Informationen

Ort: HU, Unter den Linden 6, Raum 2070a sowie online:

Meeting-ID: 618 9264 8781
Passwort: 051445




Semester: Sommersemester 2024

ZtG-Veranstaltungskategorie: Ringvorlesungen/Gastvorträge des ZtG