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Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Democracy, Communication and social movement studies – Keynote Speech, Prof. Donatella della Porta (SNS)

In the framework of the Summer School on Media in Political Participation and Mobilization, Prof. Donatella della Porta will give a keynote speech on democracy, communication and social movement studies.

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On the 26th of June 2017, from 5:30pm to 7:00pm, Prof. Donatella della Porta (SNS) will give the inaugural keynote speech of the Summer School on Media in Political Participation and Mobilization. The keynote is open to the whole SNS community and COSMOS members.

Abstract

Literature on social movements, mass media and democracy have rarely interacted. Research on democracy has tended to focus on representative institutions, pragmatically using “minimalistic” operationalization of democracy as electoral accountability, and providing structural explanation of democratic developments. Research on the mass media also tended to isolate the mass media as a separate power, reflecting on the technological constraints and opportunities for communication. Social movement studies have mainly considered democratic characteristics as setting the structure of political opportunities social movements have to address and—more rarely—looked at the constraints the mass media impose upon powerless actors. Structural, instrumental and institutional biases, in various combination, tended to characterize the three fields of studies. More recently, in all three fields of knowledge, some opportunities for reciprocal learning and interactions developed, moved by some exogenous, societal changes as well as disciplinary evolution. I would suggest that looking at the intersection of democracy, media and social movements could be particularly useful within a relational and constructivist approach, that takes normative positions by the different actors into account. More broadly, this would mean to pay attention to the permeability of the borders between the three concepts, as well as between the three fields they tend to separate. In doing this, the chapter will pay particular attention to what social movement studies can learn from recent empirical and theoretical developments in communication studies and vice-versa.

News

08/06/2017

Call for Papers - Cosmos Conference "The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism"

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The Centre on Social Movement Studies, directed by Professor Donatella Della Porta, calls for papers addressing the recent global wave of student protests for a two-days conference to bel held in Florence, at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), on 15-16 November 2017.

19/05/2017

Video available for the International Conference – Beyond Borders: Refugees and Struggles in Europe Mobilization, Solidarity and Political Challenges in the Long Summer of Migration

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Watch the video of the International Conference – Beyond Borders, which was held at Palazzo Strozzi on May 12, 2017

19/05/2017

Marco Deseriis wins Best Paper Award at the Cedem17 Conference for e-Democracy & Open Government

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Dr. Marco Deseriis, Marie Curie Fellow and Research Fellow at Cosmos, has won the Best Paper Award at the Cedem17 Conference for e-Democracy & Open Government (Danube University, Krems Au Donau, Austria)

Publications

Journal Article - 2017

The Electoral Success of the Radical Left: Explaining the Least Likely Case of the Communist Party in Graz

Manès Weisskircher
Recently, scholars have shown a growing interest in radical left parties (RLPs). In terms of electoral success, the rise of the KPÖ Graz, the Communist Party in Austria’s second biggest city, represents perhaps the most counterintuitive case in Western Europe. This analysis shows how the party has managed to ‘own’ the issue of housing and to exploit local political opportunities in order to be electorally successful. The findings point to the importance of agency and the subnational level for RLPs, and highlight more general questions in the study of this party family.

Journal Article - 2017

Non-deliberative politics in deliberative democracy: distinct approaches for different actors

Andrea Felicetti
In this paper Andrea Felicetti first illustrates the main ideas of the systemic turn, explores the distinction between ‘deliberative’ and ‘non-deliberative’ politics and investigates the main arguments justifying non-deliberative politics. Then, he builds upon these arguments to shed new light on the relationship between deliberative and non-deliberative politics. He identifies three distinctive actors in deliberative systems (political institutions, empowered agents, and public space actors). Finally, he argues that deliberative democrats should adopt three different approaches (intensive, moderate, and free) in order to assess whether the use of non-deliberative politics by each of these actors is legitimate.