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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Party Responses to Social Movements. An Empirical Assessment – Daniela Piccio, University of Torino

The talk will show that political parties incorporated many of the claims raised by the 1970s ‘participatory revolution’, and that they did so to a greater extent than it is conventionally acknowledged.

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The independent and spontaneous mobilizations of social movements in the late 1960s challenged political parties on the level of their fundamental function of political linkage, and has often been deemed a symptom of the crisis of political parties as representative agents. For the first time, ‘politics’ extended to other spheres of civil society, beyond the traditional party channels. The talk is based on Daniela Piccio’s newly published book Party Responses to Social Movements. Challenges and Opportunities (New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books Publishers) that aims to examine the ways in which political parties have responded to the emergence of these mobilizations in Italy and the Netherlands, two countries considered at opposite poles in terms of the institutional strategies for dealing with challengers, which experienced similar processes of citizens’ detachment from political parties. The analysis concentrates on the responses of both the left wing and the center parties. The major questions that it attempts to answer are: do political parties actually respond to the emergence of social movements? What types of responses do they engage in? What factors explain the variation in responses of different parties?

The talk will show that political parties incorporated many of the claims raised by the 1970s ‘participatory revolution’, and that they did so to a greater extent than it is conventionally acknowledged. Political parties performed a crucial role of citizens’ integration by channeling movements’ demands within their political discourse and organization. Additionally, the talk will focus on the challenges and opportunities that the party-social movements relationship entails and on the inevitable tensions between their respective roles and aims. Despite being geographically and temporally specific, therefore, the book aims to overcome the compartmentalization of research fields between institutional and non-institutional politics, and provide a reflection on the role of political parties, social movements, and their interaction in contemporary democracies.

News

22/07/2019

Protest for a future: international report on #FridaysForFuture and the climate strike

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Composition, mobilization and motives of the participants in Fridays For Future climate protests on 15 March 2019, in 13 European cities. A multi-country collaboration report, with contributions from COSMOS researchers Lorenzo Zamponi, Donatella della Porta, Martín Portos, Niccolò Bertuzzi and Daniela Chironi.

21/06/2019

Call for papers: "The Nation and the Radical Left - Practices and Discourses of National Identity in Left-Wing Politics"

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The call for papers is now open for a conference on national identities and left-wing politics.

18/06/2019

Call for papers: “Class without consciousness” – The Politics of Fragmented Class Identities

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The call for papers is now open for a two-day conference on class and identities at the Scuola Normale Superiore on 14-15 November 2019

Publications

Journal Article - 2019

Ballots and barricades enhanced: far‐right ‘movement parties’ and movement‐electoral interactions

Andrea Pirro
This contribution enhances our understanding of the contemporary far right by focusing on the neglected links between movements and elections within the broader context of contention.

Journal Article - 2019

From the Rainy Place to the Burnt Palace: How Social Movements Form their Political Strategies. The Case of the Six Federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba

Leonidas Oikonomakis
Exploring the case of the cocaleros of the Chapare, this article argues that more emphasis should be placed on mechanisms that are internal to the movements, such as: (a) the resonance of other political experiences at home and abroad, (b) internal struggles for ideological hegemony, and (c) the political formation of their grassroots.