The Centre on Social Movement Studies


Herman Lelieveldt – “Chaperoning private politics: how states affect NGO-corporate interactions”

On November 30th 2016, Herman Lelieveldt (University College Roosevelt) will present a paper entitled “Chaperoning private politics: how states affect NGO-corporate interactions”

Picture description

Studies that seek to explain how NGOs and corporations interact in processes leading to private certification, tend to assume that the arena of private politics is devoid of state intervention. I argue that these analyses overlook the crucial and often contradictory role states play in these processes.

These roles – which I characterize as chaperoning – are a direct result of the repositioning of state responsibilities in neo-liberal food regimes. Democratically elected governments now fiercely advocate collaboration between corporations as a way to make the food system more sustainable because free trade rules have reduced their capacity to adopt formal legislation. At the same time however state competition agencies will easily disqualify these as instances of cartel formation if such collaboration leads companies to make agreements to limit market offerings.

I illustrate these phenomena through a case study of attempts to raise animal welfare standards of poultry sold in Dutch supermarkets. When supermarkets eventually responded to NGO pressure by jointly agreeing on a common standard, the Dutch competition agency dismissed this as a case of cartel formation. This forced retailers to each individually decide on higher animal welfare standard and resulted in a highly scattered market offering with only limited welfare improvements.

Hence the analysis shows how neo-liberal predicaments of ensuring free competition poses inherent limits to the emergence of a new corporate-environmental food regime.



"Standing up for Science" - a documentary by Dieter Rucht

A documentary by Dieter Rucht on the 2017 March for Science in Washington, D.C. - now available on YouTube.


COSMOS Talks Calendar - Second Semester 2018

Read here the full calendar of the COSMOS Talks Series


Call for Application Now Open: Summer School on Concepts and Methods for Research on Far-Right Politics

We are pleased to announce that the call for applications is now open for the 1st Summer School of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy on ‘Concepts and Methods for Research on Far-Right Politics’, sponsored by the Centre for Research on Extremism (C-REX), the European Council for Political Research (ECPR), and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS).


Edited Volume - 2018

Solidarity Mobilizations in the ‘Refugee Crisis’. Contentious Moves

Donatella della Porta (ed.)
This edited volume ddresses a gap in research on social movements that has disregarded the origins of discontent and overlooks protest as a resource of the powerless; it offers insight into how the movement of refugees across the European Union and elsewhere activates political opportunities; it explores claims to citizenship made by refugees within processes of knowledge production and the mobilization of emotions

Journal Article - 2017

Reshaping Citizenship through Collective Action: Performative and Prefigurative Practices in the 2013–2014 Cycle of Contention in Bosnia & Hercegovina

Chiara Milan
This essay analyses the strategic practices adopted by social movement actors during the 2013 and 2014 mobilisations in Bosnia & Hercegovina. By bridging critical citizenship studies with literature on social movements, it classifies them as belonging to the realm of activist citizenship, but also as having a performative and prefigurative dimension.