The Centre on Social Movement Studies


Democracy in the EU and the Potential of a European Society (DEMOS)


Donatella della Porta, Lorenzo Zamponi, and Niccolò Bertuzzi



The focus of this project is on civil society’s alternative visions and practices of Europe. As trust in the European Union (EU) is dramatically falling amongst its citizens, research on alternative visions of Europe ‘from below’ appear all the more relevant. Civil society organizations linked to the so called ‘left-libertarian’ movement family have long voiced progressively more critical positions about the EU, yet at the same time promoted ‘another Europe’ and Europeanized their organizational networks and action strategies. While social movement studies, along with other areas of the social sciences, have assumed increasing Europeanisation, recent developments have challenged this view. In particular with the advent of the financial crisis, progressive social movements seem to have moved back to the national and local levels, engaging very little or not at all with the EU and questions of Europe more generally. To what extent critical Europeanism has ceded terrain to Euroscepticism, including within this alter-European vision, is a central question we seek to address in this project. In order to answer these questions, the project draws on the tool-kit of social movement studies and a neoinstitutional approach to critical junctures as sudden and drastic changes. Our empirical focus will be anti-austerity protests and related mobilizations in the period 2011-2016. We will aim to assess the effects of the financial crisis on the multilevel governance of European countries and, therefore, on the ways in which social movements formulate claims, frames and justifications about European institutions. A cross-time comparison will be constructed by building on data collected for previous research on the GJM, namely through a parallel dataset involving in-depth interviews and document analysis.


*Original Picture by Olivier Ortelpa,  released under the CC License Attribution 2.0 Generic and here partially cut and modified



Scuola Normale Superiore




"Standing up for Science" - a documentary by Dieter Rucht

A documentary by Dieter Rucht on the 2017 March for Science in Washington, D.C. - now available on YouTube.


COSMOS Talks Calendar - Second Semester 2018

Read here the full calendar of the COSMOS Talks Series


Call for Application Now Open: Summer School on Concepts and Methods for Research on Far-Right Politics

We are pleased to announce that the call for applications is now open for the 1st Summer School of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy on ‘Concepts and Methods for Research on Far-Right Politics’, sponsored by the Centre for Research on Extremism (C-REX), the European Council for Political Research (ECPR), and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS).


Edited Volume - 2018

Solidarity Mobilizations in the ‘Refugee Crisis’. Contentious Moves

Donatella della Porta (ed.)
This edited volume ddresses a gap in research on social movements that has disregarded the origins of discontent and overlooks protest as a resource of the powerless; it offers insight into how the movement of refugees across the European Union and elsewhere activates political opportunities; it explores claims to citizenship made by refugees within processes of knowledge production and the mobilization of emotions

Journal Article - 2017

Reshaping Citizenship through Collective Action: Performative and Prefigurative Practices in the 2013–2014 Cycle of Contention in Bosnia & Hercegovina

Chiara Milan
This essay analyses the strategic practices adopted by social movement actors during the 2013 and 2014 mobilisations in Bosnia & Hercegovina. By bridging critical citizenship studies with literature on social movements, it classifies them as belonging to the realm of activist citizenship, but also as having a performative and prefigurative dimension.