Organising Protest:

Where is our Systems Psychodynamic thinking on


Organising Protest:

Where is our Systems Psychodynamic thinking on


NIODA'S 6th Annual Symposium

7, 8 & 9 September 2022

What can systems psychodynamics add to our understanding of social movements?

Social Movements have long been part of societies worldwide. We can instance such momentous issues as indigenous land rights; female suffrage and the emancipation of slaves; as well as protests against wars or government economic measures; and more recently there are demonstrations surrounding climate change, cruelty to animals, racial discrimination and gender, even against government public health measures.

A social movement may be defined as ‘a loosely organized but sustained campaign in support of a social goal’ (Brittanica). They are an ‘effort by a large number of people to bring about or impede social, political, economic or cultural change’ (University of Minnesota on-line Library). They most often involve a protest against ideas, actions and the culture of the establishment or a call to action for change.

As distinct from an interest group, social movements are organized to initiate social change and involve action by the members, often in the form of protest using multiple methods. They are collective and may arise spontaneously amongst people with a common outlook, but then become sustained and organized. They may be local, regional or global. Social anthropologists and sociologists have defined the different types as reform, revolutionary, redemptive, resistance and alternative. They define lifecycles: beginnings, growth and endings: emergence, coalescence, bureaucratization and decline.

What can systems psychodynamics add to our understanding of these movements?

For instance, systems psychodynamics might begin to unpack what has been happening in political landscapes.

If social movements are defined as efforts ‘by a large number of people to bring about or impede social, political, economic or cultural change’ (University of Minnesota online Library), then a significant portion of the Australian population has been recently engaged. As a population, ‘We’ swept a conservative government from power. But we did not simply swap them for ‘those on the other side’ in the long-standing tradition. We swapped them for a new radical mixture of the traditional ‘other side’ plus some Greens and a handful of independent female candidates who ‘ruthlessly highlighted the moderates’ inability to influence the direction of the [government]’ (Wahlquist, The Guardian). They have been labelled the “Teals’.

If thinking about the life cycle of social movements – emergence, coalescence, bureaucratisation and decline – how and where does a new government’s plethora of promises fit? The new Australian government promises action on climate change, an Indigenous voice in parliament (already acted upon), and an integrity commission, to name a few.

Haven’t got time to do it by yourself? As they say, ‘it takes a group to understand a group’, collaborate with your colleagues on a presentation. Develop some new thinking, bring it to:

Organising Protest:

Where is our Systems Psychodynamic thinking on


This symposium invites papers focused on the topic of Organising Protest: Where is our Systems Psychodynamics thinking on Social Movements?

Papers may include:

  • The systems psychodynamics of current social movements such as Black Lives Matter, ‘Me Too’, Climate Change, Animal Cruelty, LGBTQI+ Rights, the movements around colonisation: in Australian parlance – the Invasion Day / Australia Day argument, Deaths in Custody, the Anti-Vaccination movement.
  • The role of social media and technology in social movements;
  • Systems psychodynamic case studies of social movements: historical or current;
  • The psychodynamics of protest: its meaning and evolution;
  • Leading, joining, following and organising social movements;
  • Bridging the divide between different systems (work, recreational, family) when social movements are confronting and disturbing;
  • How does society accept and absorb successful social movements; what is pushed into the shadows?
  • What role do social movements play in the workplace?
  • How does identification with a social movement affect work roles?
  • What makes for a successful social movement?

We invite abstracts for papers to be submitted for selection by Monday 4 July and presenters will be advised by Monday 18 July 2022.


Social Movements: NIODA Symposium 2022








When & Where

NIODA Symposium 2022: Organising Protest: Where is our Systems Psychodynamic thinking on social movements?

📆  Dates

Wednesday 7 – Friday 9 September 2022

⏰. Session Times

5 pm, 7 pm, 9 am & 11 am 🇨🇰  Melbourne
8 am, 10 am, 12 am & 2 am 🇬🇧  London
3 am, 5 am, 7 pm & 9 pm 🇺🇸  New York
3 pm, 5 pm, 7 am & 9 am 🇸🇬  Singapore

💷  For only

AUD $290 including; panel discussions, keynote, parallel paper
presentations & session recordings

Early bird price AUD $250 until 30 July

👩🏻‍💻. Location

Live interactive online sessions via Zoom

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The National Institute of Organisation Dynamics Australia (NIODA) offers internationally renowned post-graduate education and research in organisation dynamics, and decades of experience consulting with Australian organisations. 

The study of organisation dynamics brings together socio-technical and psychoanalytic disciplines to explore the unconscious dynamics that exist in every group, team or organisation. Learning more about these theories, and reflecting on the experience of them, can support leaders and managers to unlock great potential in their organisations, tackling issues through a whole new light.

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