logo

Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

logo
2016-12-20

Call for Papers – The Politics of Big Data at the ECPR General Conference

Papers proposals are invited for the upcoming Section on “Political Sciences and the Big Data Challenge From Big Data in Politics to the Politics of Big Data” at the ECPR General Conference (Oslo 6-9 September 2017).

Picture description

In occasion of the next ECPR General Conference (Oslo 6-9 September 2017) we invite papers for any of the panels in the section “Political Sciences and the Big Data Challenge From Big Data in Politics to the Politics of Big Data“. More detailed info on panels and the overall section can be found below.

Please submit paper proposals to the section chairs elena.pavan@sns.it and alice.mattoni@sns.it by January the 15th 2017 including the following info: (1) papers titles and abstracts (no more than 500 words); (2) institutional affliliation; (3) institutional email address.

We will then arrange the selected papers in panels and submit them to the ECPR via their electronic platform. Please note that paper authors must be registered in the ECPR electronic platform with the email address they will include in the paper proposals.

Section outline and themes

This section aims to open a much-needed space for developing within the ECPR context a critical and informed reflection on the multi-faceted nexus between Big Data and political science. It understands Big Data not solely in terms of large-scale datasets of textual or digital data that require us to tune our research practices. More radically, it starts from a conceptualization of Big Data as a complex set of cultural, political and scientific knowledge practices that challenge the traditional modes in which research questions are posed and framed, analyses are performed, as well as the ways in which results are communicated to the public and thus affect public discourse and debates. Consistently, the section comprises a set of panels that aim to investigate two interrelated aspects. On the one hand, panels will engage with how Big Data are leveraging our understanding of political dynamics within complex societies. In this respect, the section will consider applications of Big Data in connection to public opinion and institutional politics (party dynamics, political communications, etc.) as well as in relation to the study of contemporary forms of collective action and unconventional political participation (social movements, digital activism and the like). On the other, panels will develop a specific take on Big Data, considering how they become a contested research and political terrain, and thus inviting critical reflections on methodological and epistemological implications but also on the power dynamics that entwine with the increased datification of our societies. In this sense, this Section offers a unique occasion to foster the convergence of scholars and researchers currently working on the value of Big Data for studying politics but also on the politics of Big Data themselves. With this aim in mind, the panels in this Section will welcome papers employing different theoretical, empirical and methodological approaches on Big Data, with a single-case or a comparative multinational and/or multiplatform perspective. More specifically, the Section will welcome papers on the following topics.

Big data, public opinion and institutional politics

Digital social behaviors and, particularly, social media communications and interactions are increasingly considered a fundamental component of electoral campaigns, governmental and legislative dynamics as well as of the relationships and the interactions between party members and political leaders with their constituencies. Thus, it is in the online public discourse unravelling on social media platforms that politicians and policy-makers lean to an increasing extent to have the pulse of ongoing and ever evolving political trends and public opinions. This panel invites papers that apply Big Data to the study of contemporary political institutional and/or public opinion dynamics with national or comparative perspectives thus providing a space to inquiry about how this type of data and related methodological and analytical practices can leverage our understanding of traditional political science topics.

Big data and unconventional political participations

The rapid diffusion and increased use of social media platforms in grassroots politics has relevant consequences for the organization of social movements and their forms of protest. While more traditional forms of collective actions still exist, grassroots politics often follows a logic of connective action according to which collective actors are less central than in the past for the success of mobilizations. Moreover, activists lean increasingly on web-based platforms and internet services that produce Big Data flows worldwide. This panel invites papers that investigate to what extent Big Data are changing the way in which activists organize and protest with national or comparative perspectives thus providing a space to inquiry about how this type of data and related methodological and analytical practices can leverage our understanding of grassroots political participation today.

A paradigm shift for political science? Discussing Big Data epistemology and its implication for political studies

Recent events, such as the last USA Presidential elections, have clearly shown the potentials and, perhaps, even to a larger extent, the criticalities of predictive analytical practices in the study of political dynamics. The time seems more than ripe to begin re-addressing the methodological practices that underpin our understanding of sociopolitical dynamics – in particular in relation to our extensive use of large-scale digital and textual datasets which are deemed to be “representative” of citizens’ political preferences, desires, and priorities. Consistently, this panel invites papers that address, theoretically or empirically, the potentialities and the criticalities of Big Data as a new epistemological practice for producing valid and socially relevant scientific knowledge in the field of political science.

Big data as a political terrain: deconstructing and approaching critically datification

Big Data are not a neutral field of practice and knowledge, in particular when it comes to politics. Political actors, economic actors and media actors understand in different ways the concept of big data. More precisely, when political parties and social movements engage with Big Data, they often evoke specific, and contrasting, understanding of what datification processes means in and for politics. This panel invites papers that deconstruct and approach critically processes of datification in contemporary politics by looking at the intersections between different political cultures and (big) data cultures, focusing on the discourses and imaginaries that political actors develop around Big Data, and investigating the media practices related to the construction, manipulation and subversion of Big Data within the political realm.

 

News

28/09/2020

Four post-doctoral research positions on the pandemic

alt
The Scuola Normale Superiore announces four post-doctoral positions to be activated as part of the research project “After the coronavirus pandemic: The effects of the health emergency on society and knowledge.” 

26/02/2020

CFP Athens conference "Capitalism, Democracy, Contention: A Decade of Crisis" 13-15 May 2020

alt
Aspiring to shed light on the Greek experience in the era of crisis in a comparative, inter-disciplinary perspective, the Laboratory on Contentious Politics (Department of Political Science and History, Panteion University, Athens), the Centre on Social Movement Studies (Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence) and the Hellenic Political Science Association are organizing an international conference to be held at Panteion University, on 13, 14 and 15 May 2020.

12/12/2019

Prof. Donatella Della Porta to Be Awarded Honorary PhD

alt
On Friday 13, 2019, the University of the Peloponnese (PSIR) will award an honorary doctorate to Professor Donatella Della Porta, Dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore.

22/07/2019

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

alt
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"

alt
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

alt
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

Edited Volume - 2021

Varieties of Populism in Europe in Times of Crises

Manuela Caiani & Paolo Graziano
Populism is booming across all the nuances of the political spectrum. It occupies relevant positions in national parliaments, in governmental coalitions with mainstream parties or as successful challengers of the political status quo. This volume sheds new light on the topic from different methodological and theoretical angles and offers evidence from a variety of cases on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions on populism’s emergence and consolidation in Europe over the past 30 years.

Journal Article - 2021

Populism between voting and non-electoral participation

Andrea Pirro & Martín Portos
The article focuses on a neglected aspect of populist mobilisation, i.e. non-electoral participation (NEP), and elaborates on the extent to which populist party voters engage politically outside the polling station. While challenging common understandings of populism as inherently distrustful and apathetic, and protest as an exclusive practice of the left, the study critically places NEP at the heart of populism in general, and populist right politics in particular.

Monograph - 2021

Migrant Protest. Interactive Dynamics in Precarious Mobilizations

Elias Steinhilper
This book explores the interactions and spaces shaping the emergence, trajectory, and fragmentation of migrant protest in unfavorable contexts of marginalization.

Journal Article - 2020

We protect the forest beings, and the forest beings protect us: Cultural resistance in the Ecuadorian Amazonia

Leonidas Oikonomakis
The inhabitants of Sarayaku have forged an anti-colonial, anti-extractivist, and anti-capitalist resistance culture. How did that culture develop? How is it articulated? Moreover, how is kawsak sacha positioned in the discussion over the rights of Nature in Latin America? Based on three months of ethnographic research in the community of Sarayaku and more than twenty-five interviews with community members, this article addresses those important questions and argues that securing legal protection may not be a long-term resistance strategy.

Monograph - 2020

The Contentious Politics of Expertise. Experts, activism and grassroots environmentalism

Riccardo Emilio Chesta
Based on mixed-methods research and ethnographic fieldwork at various sites in Italy, this book examines the relationship between expertise and activism in grassroots environmentalism. Bridging the sociology of expertise and contentious politics, the book shows how conflict transforms, rather than inhibits, expertise production into a ‘contentious politics by other means’.

Journal Article - 2019

Alliance building and eventful protests: comparing Spanish and Portuguese trajectories under the Great Recession

Martín Portos & Tiago Carvalho
Social movement research has shed light on the relationship between processes of alliance building and multiple factors related to political opportunities, framing, identities, networks and resource mobilization. However, less is known about the impact of eventful protests on coalition building dynamics.

Monograph - 2019

Social Mobilization beyond Ethnicity. Civic Activism and Grassroots Movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Chiara Milan
This book offers an in-depth investigation of the emergence and spread of social mobilizations that transcend ethnicity in societies violently divided along ethno-national lines. Using Bosnia Herzegovina as a case study, the book explores episodes of mobilization which have superseded ethno-nationalist cleavages.

Journal Article - 2019

Close ever, distant never? Integrating protest event and social network approaches into the transformation of the Hungarian far right

Andrea Pirro, Elena Pavan, Adam Fagan & David Gazsi
In this article, we extend our understanding of fringe politics to include relational and thematic elements, namely, the relationship of far-right collective actors with their broader network and the claims made within it. By focusing on often neglected relational and thematic aspects, the study provides new ways to analyse fringe collective actors, the relationship with their environment and the evolution of such a relationship over time.

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.

Monograph - 2019

Resistere alla crisi. I percorsi dell'azione sociale diretta

Lorenzo Bosi, Lorenzo Zamponi
Uno studio in profondità su solidarietà, mutualismo e organizzazione dal basso nell'Italia della crisi.