The Centre on Social Movement Studies


Tea Party Emergence – John McCarty, Penn State University

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Professor John McCarthy is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Penn State University. He will present a paper co-authored with Patrick Rafail, Kevin Reuning and Hyun Woo Kim titled “Movement Success, Political Fracturing, and Demobilization: Explaining the Tea Party’s Short Romance with Protest Demonstrations.”

Abstract: On April 15, 2009 the Tea Party movement staged more than one thousand tax day protests across the nation. By 2014, just 22 events took place. What explains this rapid decline? We argue that the Tea Party experienced political fracturing: a combination of internal and external pressures that pushed the movement toward demobilization. We combine quantitative and qualitative data on the Tea Party to examine the decline of protest mobilization. Our findings indicate that the decline of the movement was the result of the organizational diffuseness of the Tea Party and its transition from top-down to predominantly grassroots mobilization. Tea Party activists became skeptical of the effectiveness of protest, hindering mobilization, while growing disenchantment with the Republican Party pushed activists into locally focused political mobilization. Our analysis underscores the power of organizational structure and activist strategizing in sustaining mobilization.



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

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.


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

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


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

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


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.

Journal Article - 2019

The Modern Prince and the Sociological Imagination

Riccardo Emilio Chesta, Michael Burawoy
Michael Burawoy in Conversation with Riccardo Emilio Chesta