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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Eduardo Georjão Fernandes – Controlling dissent: new surveillance technologies and the policing of social movements in Brazil

At 5pm, Eduardo Georjão Fernandes will speak about his research on how police forces employ new surveillance technologies to control grassroots dissent in Brazil

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In his research, Eduardo Georjão Fernandes seeks to study mechanisms of control and surveillance in interaction with social mobilization. Specifically, his research project focuses on the analysis of how new surveillance technologies have been incorporated into the policing of social movements in recent Brazilian context. In that country, the occurrence of a huge mobilization process, the cycle of protests of 2013 (also known as “Jornadas de junho”), has brought to the fore several questions about the ways in which police institutions control social movements. On the other hand, Brazil has recently hosted important mega events, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. For the security of such mega events, a technological apparatus was created, with the construction of control centers that congregate different institutions and develop monitoring activities using technological devices. Based on this context, this study seeks to investigate the following question: how does the interaction between these parallel processes (huge mobilizations and technological investment) transform the policing strategies to control social movements? The theoretical framework is primarily based on contentious politics literature, specifically in what refers to the concepts of policing strategies and policing styles, combined with contributions from surveillance studies. Methodologically, the research is based on a qualitative approach to study a specific case – the city of Porto Alegre (Brazil) in 2013. The analysis is divided in 3 steps: (1) identifying policing tactics and strategies; (2) describing the dimensions that interact in the construction of these strategies; (3) explaining, by causal mechanisms, the specific role of surveillance technologies in this context. The results indicate that tactics derived from distinct policing styles were adopted (sometimes, simultaneously) during the events, characterizing a moment of experimentation and the configuration of hybrid strategies. The production of these policing strategies resulted from interactions with protesters, the media, the local government and a civil rights coalition. The role of technologies in these interactions was explained by two main mechanisms: anticipation, which means the emphasis on a preventive logic of policing to avoid surprises or unexpected situations and to retain the control of public sphere; invisibilization, which means that technologies make repression less visible and thus less exposed to criticism.

News

14/09/2018

Andrea Pirro appointed as new editor of East European Politics

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Andrea Pirro has been recently appointed as new editor of the journal East European Politics published by Taylor and Francis.

31/08/2018

Volkswagen foundation Grant 2018 for Manuela Caiani

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Manuela Caiani has been awarded the Volkswagen Grant 2018 for the research project Popular Music as a Medium for the Mainstreaming of Populist Ideologies in Europe, that will be directed by Mario Dunkel (University Carl von Ossietzky of Oldenburg, Germany).

30/07/2018

ERC Starting Grant 2018 for Alice Mattoni

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Alice Mattoni, Research Fellow at COSMOS and Assistant Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore, has been awarded the ERC Starting Grant 2018 for the research project BIT-ACT: Bottom-up initiative and anti-corruption technologies: how citizens use ICTs to fight corruption.

Publications

Journal Article - 2018

Movement parties of the far right: The organization and strategies of nativist collective actors

Andrea Pirro, Pietro Castelli Gattinara
Despite theoretical commonalities, very little empirical research has focused on far-right “movement parties” as collective actors operating both in the protest and the electoral arenas. The article redresses this inconsistency by exploring the organizational and strategic configuration of two far-right collective actors—the Hungarian Jobbik and the Italian CasaPound.

Journal Article - 2018

New Technologies as a Neglected Social Movement Outcome: The Case of Activism against Animal Experimentation

Manès Weisskircher
Based on novel empirical research, this paper analyzes a crucial and understudied case of a movement pushing for new technologies: the animal rights movement and its efforts to push for alternatives to animal experimentation.