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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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2020-02-26

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

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.

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INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

13, 14 & 15 May 2020

 

Capitalism, Democracy, Contention: A Decade of Crisis

Comparing four major economic crises of the last 100 years ‒the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, the Eurozone crisis, and Greece’s ‘long collapse’‒ a recent IMF Article IV Report (IMF Country Report No. 19/340) made the following conspicuous disclosure: whereas the economies in all the other cases had rebounded to pre-crisis levels within three-six years, a full decade after the signing the first Memorandum of Understanding, despite continual internal devaluation and the persistent implementation of austerity policies, Greece continues to languish.

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.

As Greece has been the harbinger of things to come all over Europe and beyond, its detailed examination provides grounds for assessing extant conceptualizations and theories at the intersection of institutional and contentious politics, also bearing significant theoretical import for contemporary political sociology as a whole. The conference’s cognitive goals are threefold, involving: (a) examination of the precise character of the crisis and its social repercussions; (b) its influence on the functioning of the political system (democratic hollowing/post-democracy); and (c) the social-movement and political responses it spearheaded.

 

A: The ‘Great Recession’: an unknown familiar, a familiar unknown

Considering that ‘crisis’ has been encompassing nearly all aspects of public life at least for a decade, comparative political sociology is faced with the challenge of tracking down and meaningfully synthesizing pertinent debates on its nature and social consequences. Aspiring to illuminate these dimensions, the conference invites papers from a wide spectrum of fields in the social sciences (political economy, social policy, political and social anthropology), exploring the crisis’ causal mechanisms, the narratives, frames and political discourses that were emitted about it by a variety of actors (the Media, supra-national institutions, political parties etc.), as well as its impact in the broad processes of social organization and reproduction (labor market, public health, education, housing). We are particularly keen on papers that will either be comparing Greece with other countries or will be employing it as a case-study to evaluate (revisit or, if necessary, recast) dominant concepts and research proclivities.

 

Β: Democratic Hollowing -Post-Democracy

In a political system already characterized by the ‘hollowing of democracy’, the influence of austerity politics has been truly portentous. The conference seeks to examine the relevant developments with a twofold focus: (a) which were the consequences the various bailout agreements had on the functioning of the political system (e.g., declining role of the legislature vis-à-vis the executive, ruling by decree, mounting intervention by supranational institutions with minimal democratic accountability)? and (b) in what ways has austerity politics intensified the crisis of representation? If the first aspect concerns developments taking place inside the core of the state, the second centers primarily on party functioning: how was the crisis reflected in the party system, what is the significance of the collapse of the embedded two partyism of 1974-2009 and what theoretical conclusions can be drawn regrading the perennial problem of party bureaucratization (and cartelization)? Here too, a major challenge is the comparative-theoretical utilization of the papers’ empirical results.

 

C: Social-Movement and Political Responses

But Greece was also marked by the outbreak of an unprecedented protest wave ‒dozens of militant general strikes, the occupation of public buildings, the two-month long Aganaktismenoi mobilizations, a variety of solidarity initiatives, and several contentious local protests‒ all in the face of towering police brutality, not only in capital Athens but all over the country. The conference seeks papers exploring three main areas: (a) developments in the repertoires of collective action: which were the major changes occurring in protest forms, which were the conditions fueling them, and what kinds of results did they obtain? (b) subjective understandings of collective action: how was the experience of participating in contentious events interpreted by the claimants themselves, and which factors influenced their preparedness to engage in them? (c) what can be said about the tempo or the rhythm of collective action and in what ways has the transformation of protest into a political program ‒the political mediation of social-movement reality‒ by political parties and organizations influenced developments?

 

The conference invites abstracts (up to 350 words) in any one of the areas above (or combinations thereof) until Friday 20 March 2020. Submit abstracts to to the Laboratory on Contentious Policy website submission form https://lcp.panteion.gr/en/submit-proposal/  or alternatively to lcp@panteion.gr.

News

28/09/2020

Four post-doctoral research positions on the pandemic

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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

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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

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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

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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

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.