logo

Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

logo
2017-06-08

Call for Papers – Cosmos Conference “The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism”

The Centre on Social Movement Studies, directed by Professor Donatella Della Porta, calls for papers addressing the recent global wave of student protests for a two-days conference to bel held in Florence, at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), on 15-16 November 2017.

Picture description

COSMOS CONFERENCE
The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism
15-16 November 2017, Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS) – palazzo Strozzi, Florence

Conveners:

Prof. Donatella della Porta (SNS);

Dr. Lorenzo Cini (SNS);

Dr. Cesar Guzman-Concha (SNS)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Thierry M. Luescher (Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa);

Manja Klemenčič (Harvard University, United States)

Abstract:

University students have traditionally engaged in contentious collective action. New generations of political leaders have emerged out of the student movement, often associated to broader hopes of renewal and regeneration. The events of 1968 show students as a key actor committed to a varied program of progressive change which included issues such as the fight against bureaucratism, oppression, and imperialism. The most common depiction of students doing radical politics stems from the images of rallies and clashes with the police in the streets of Paris or Los Angeles. To be sure, education has been traditionally a contentious issue. The right to attend educational programs was one of the core demands of worker movements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries all over the world. The origins of the welfare state are closely related to the granting of primary education and the idea of minimum levels of compulsory instruction. Education systems have been one of the components of the welfare state, although scholars have paid far more attention to other aspects such as health and pension systems. In historical perspective, the granting of access to higher education to the lower classes was the culmination of the extension of demands that consolidate the access to education (and state provision of it) as social right.

Student activism has been sometimes related to the emergence of new middle classes and the expansion of the public sector but also as expressions of demands of emerging sectors so far excluded from the political system. Over the course of the twentieth century, and in successive waves which combine contentious and non-contentious mechanisms and their participation in broader struggles along with other actors such as labour unions, women and peace movements, and left parties, student political activism has resulted in democratization (either restoration or further consolidation), the expansion of the welfare state, and overall in the creation of more opened and inclusive societies. Several recent episodes of massive student protests in countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa, have triggered questions over the main characteristics of a new wave of campus activism taking place across the world. For sure, these protests address the neoliberal transformations of the system of higher education, enacted by governments of all political leanings, promoting the outsourcing of personnel, the managerialization of governing bodies, the introduction of tuition fees as well as cuts to public funding. The outburst of the economic crisis in 2008 has represented a decisive watershed in this process of marketization: as many governments across the world have adopted the neoliberal and pro-austerity agenda as a way out of the crisis. These measures accelerated the implementation of neoliberal reforms in countries where they previously did not exist. Although differences between countries continue to be pronounced, national higher education systems are becoming more alike in the sense of being more market-oriented, even in countries with a strong state intervention tradition. Such transformations were not only aimed at meeting effective and well-structured policy designs, but they were also triggered by the logic of vested interests, power relations, and social conflicts. This is where our research interest comes in with our focus on the contentious politics of higher education. Over the past ten years, students of all around the world have indeed contested these policies and their implementation with different degrees of success.

Submission Details:

The Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS: http://cosmos.sns.it/), directed by Professor Donatella Della Porta, calls for papers addressing the recent global wave of student protests for a two-days conference to be held in Florence, at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), on 15-16 November 2017. We look for research contributions, both from junior and senior academics (especially sociologists and political scientists), who have worked on this topic over the last years. We are especially interested in contributions that link protests to policy transformations within the broad arena of higher education. Abstracts should be 300-400 words and suitable for a 15-20 minute presentation. Please send your abstract and contact details to Lorenzo Cini (Lorenzo.Cini@sns.it) or Cesar Guzman-Concha (cesarguz@gmail.com) by the deadline of July 15th. Decisions on abstracts will be made by July 30th. The conference is organised under the auspices of the Centre On Social Movement Studies (COSMOS) at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, SNS. Unfortunately, we are not able to cover travelling costs, but we will offer coffee breaks and light lunches.  No conference fees are demanded.

During the conference, we will also present the findings of our two-years research project, entitled “The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. An International Comparison of Student Movements”, whose aim was to compare and assess the political and policy outcomes of the recent student protests occurred in Chile, Quebec, England, and Italy.

Contacts:

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact either Lorenzo Cini (lorenzo.cini@sns.it) or Cesar Guzman-Concha (cesarguz@gmail.com).

 

News

29/11/2018

Call for Papers - International Conference on Feminist Alliances

alt
The conference will focus on the role played by discourses, practices and politics in the construction and political consequences of feminist alliances with inequalities defined by class, race/ethnicity, citizenship, age, disability and sexuality.

20/11/2018

Call for Papers - International Conference The Contentious Politics of Solidarity

alt
The conference will focus on the contestation of acts of solidarity by counter-movements and the state, as well as on resistance to it by migrant and pro-migrant movements.

09/11/2018

Donatella della Porta on the Growing Criminalization of Protest

alt
The criminalization of protest is growing: there are many signals of this both in ‘hybrid’ regimes and in democratic countries. In this interview, Donatella della Porta discusses the dynamics and consequences of such trend.

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.

Monograph - 2018

Political Strategies and Social Movements in Latin America. The Zapatistas and Bolivian Cocaleros

Leonidas Oikonomakis
This book investigates how social movements form their political strategies in their quest for social change and -when they shift from one strategy to another- why and how that happens.