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Past Conferences

Communicating Civic Engagement in Europe and the United States
May 19-20, 2000 • University of Washington

In May of 2000, the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement organized an international workshop that explored the state of civic engagement in various democracies, with the focus on ways in which communication (broadly defined) may frustrate citizen action or facilitate it. Information on the conference including the program, participants and their papers can be found through these links.

Sponsored by the Center for West European Studies and the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement; Department of Communication and the Department of Political Science.

Beyond the Boycott: Worker-Consumer Alliance Conference
January 26, 2002 • UW Seattle

In this moment of furious globalization, consumers are increasingly called upon to support the struggles of workers who produce what they buy. Boycotts and Union label campaigns are almost as old as organized labor, but "corporate campaigns" against companies like Nike and Starbucks, student movements to oppose sweatshop production of university sportswear, and a growing movement promoting "Fair Trade" products seem to represent new forms of worker-consumer alliances. What can these kinds of movements achieve and what are their limitations? What issues do movements face when they claim to speak for workers in the North and South? How can consumer-oriented campaigns work with Union and trade policy centered struggles?

On January 26th the University of Washington Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the UW Center for Communications and Civic Engagement and Politics & Society invited activists, trade unionists, students and intellectuals to meet and consider such questions, develop new thinking for future efforts, and put the theme of worker-consumer alliances into strategic and intellectual perspective. Participants included Dana Frank, author of Buy American, Jeffrey Ballinger of Press for Change, Deborah James of Global Exchange, Daisy Pitkin of the Campaign for Labor Rights, and many more….