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Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Policing research: Surveillance, repression and the academia

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While state repression of researchers and academics has always existed, today academic freedom seems to be increasingly under attack around the world. In Turkey, thousands of academics face prosecution, dismissal and harassment for signing an open letter protesting military action by the Turkish government in the Kurdish region of the country. In Egypt, the military coup in July 2013 unleashed a wave of state repression against academics and researchers suspected of sympathies with labour unions, student movements and the Muslim Brotherhood. In Russia, research institutes have been shut down under the accusation of hosting “foreign agents”, whereas in Italy a researcher has been condemned for “moral complicity” with the offenses perpetrated by the social movement she studied in her undergraduate dissertation.

Increasing authoritarianism, coupled with the new forms of surveillance and repression made available by data abundance, makes the position of scholars engaged in sensitive research dangerous, while it gives them increasing responsibilities when it comes to the protection of the personal data they collect. What is the state of the art of academic freedom and repression around the world? How can social movements and researchers engage with new forms of academic and state surveillance? In trying to answer these questions, this conference addresses repression in the academia from the point of view of scholars, practitioners and activists, discussing the challenges they face, the new forms of resistance they develop, with the goal of outlining best practices to deal with academic surveillance and repression.

 

Keynote speakers

DONATELLA DELLA PORTA (Scuola Normale Superiore)

JOSEPH SAUNDERS (Human Rights Watch)

FRANCESCA COIN (University of Venice)

JANNIS GRIMM (Freie Universität Berlin)

KEVIN KÖHLER (The American University in Cairo)

ILYAS SALIBA (WZB Berlin)

 

News

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.

16/06/2018

Martin Portos wins the Juan J. Linz Prize to the Best thesis in Political Science 2017

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Martin Portos was just awarded with the Juan J. Linz Prize to the Best thesis in Political Science 2017 with his tesis “Voicing outrage, contending with austerity. Mobilization in Spain under the Great Recession”, realized under the supervision of prof. Donatella della Porta.

18/05/2018

Donatella della Porta at the Belleuve Forum in Berlin - May 23, 2018

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On May 23rd, 2018, the Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier talks with Donatella della Porta, Christoph Möllers and David Van Reybrouck about anti-politics, anti-establishment and the dangers of indifference to the political to address the 2018 topic of the Forum "Society without Politics - Testing Liberal Democracies".

Publications

Journal Article - 2018

Comparing hybrid media systems in the digital age: A theoretical framework for analysis

Alice Mattoni and Diego Ceccobelli
The relationship between media and politics today is deeply entrenched in the wide use of information and communication technologies to the point that scholars speak about the emergence of hybrid media systems in which older and newer media logics combine. However, it is still unclear how the configuration of hybrid media systems changes across countries today, especially with regard to the interconnection between media and politics. The article develops a theoretical framework to capture such national differences.

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.