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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

24/09/2017

New Publication Out - "Social movements and referendums from below. Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis"

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A timely publication to shed light on the link between social movements that formed as a consequence of the 2008 financial crash and the referendums' dynamic and results.

25/08/2017

Donatella Della Porta con Yanis Varoufakis alla 13esima conferenza ESA

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Wednesday, August 30th (8pm-9.30pm) professor della Porta, who directs the Center on Social Movement Studies(Cosmos), will dialogue with Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Minister of Finance during the first Tsipras government, about the future of Europe and the social consequences of neoliberal economies

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.

Publications

Monograph - 2018

Social Movements and Civil War : When Protests for Democratization Fail

Donatella della Porta, Teije Hidde Donker , Bogumila Hall , Emin Poljarevic
This book investigates the origins of civil wars which emerge from failed attempts at democratization. The main aim of this volume is to develop a theoretical explanation of the conditions under which and the mechanisms through which social movements' struggles for democracy ends up in civil war.

Journal Article - 2017

Successful student activism in contemporary Italian universities

Lorenzo Cini
This article assesses the strategies that the Italian student activists adopted in order to influence the revision process of the governance structure of their universities in 2011