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Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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DEMOS – Democracy in Europe and the Mobilization of Society

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START YEAR 2004

END YEAR 2008

OVERVIEW

This project focused upon forms of participatory democracy elaborated ‘from below’ and implemented both in the internal organization of social movements and in experiments with deliberative decision-making. In particular, the project analyzed the issue of active democracy emerging in the theories and practices of movements demanding a ‘globalization from below’.
Social movements criticize the fundamentals of conventional practices of politics, and experiment with new models of democracy both in their internal structure and in the ways in which they interact with political institutions. Of particular interest for the project were the conceptions and practices of democracy developed in the global movement/s mobilizing transnationally and demanding social justice and participatory democracy.
The ensuing debate about democracy is particularly relevant both for the development of civil society, and for the legitimization of political institutions at local, national and supranational levels. Our research – focusing on six European countries (France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Switzerland), as well as the EU itself – embraced an analysis of documents pertaining to both movements and public institutions, websites, semi-structured interviews with Non-Governmental Organizations and public administrators, surveys of movement activists, participant observation of movement groups and experiences of participatory decision-making.

CONSORTIUM INFORMATION

Project Coordinator:
Prof. Donatella Della Porta (European University Institute, Florence)

  • European University Institute (Donatella Della Porta)
  • University of Kent at Canterbury (Christopher Rootes)
  • Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (Dieter Rucht)
  • Università di Urbino (Mario Pianta)
  • Université de Paris I – Sorbonne (Isabelle Sommier)
  • Instituto de Estudios Sociales de Andalucía (Manuel Jiménez)
  • Université de Genève (Marco Giugni)

SPATIAL COVERAGE OF THE PROJECT

France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the transnational level.

RESEARCH TECNIQUES

Website analysis, content analysis, semi-structured interviews, survey, participant observation.

OBSERVATIONAL UNITS

  • Websites of selected social movement organizations (SMOs) (WP2);
  • Formal documents (i.e. constitutions or mission statements) produced by SMOs (WP3);
  • Representatives of the sampled SMOs (WP4);
  • Participants in the Athens European Social Forum (May 4-7, 2006);
  • “Critical discourse moments” in meetings and activities of SMOs.

RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS:

  1. “General group description/portrait” – organized according to a list of items useful to provide a general description of the group under study
  2. “Session reports” – used to describe the character, content and course of every meeting. The reports draw a more general picture of the group meetings and allow putting a controversy into context
  3. “Controversy protocols” – used to register participation, symmetry/asymmetry, the kind of power used in a controversy and a range of other variables for moments of controversy only
  4. “Codebook” – explains the use of session reports and discourse protocol

DELIVERABLES

AVAILABLE DATASETS

Available datasets can be downloaded clicking on the links above or as a zipped folder at the bottom of the page. Note: Datasetes from WPs 2,3, and 4 are merged in a sole file.

MAIN PUBLICATIONS

D. Della Porta (ed.), 2006, The Global Justice Movement: Cross-national and Transnational Perspectives, Boulder, Paradigm
https://paradigm.presswarehouse.com/books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=143540

D. Della Porta (ed.), 2009, Democracy in Social Movements, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/democracy-in-social-movements-donatella-della-porta/?K=9780230218833

D. Della Porta (ed.), 2009, Another Europe: Conceptions and Practices of Democracy in the European Social Forums, London-New York, Routledge
http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415846080

D. Della Porta and D. Rucht (eds.), 2013, Meeting Democracy. Power and Deliberation in Global Justice Movements, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
http://www.cambridge.org/ar/academic/subjects/sociology/political-sociology/meeting-democracy-power-and-deliberation-global-justice-movements

                                  

FUNDING

A project funded by the EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Directorate General for Research
6th Framework Programme (FP 6) Priority 7
Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge Based Society
(http://www.cordis.lu/citizens; contract no. CIT2-CT2004-506026) and (for the Swiss case) Federal Office for Education and Science, Switzerland (http://www.bbw.admin.ch; contract no. 03.0482).

 

FILES

SPSS Datasets WP2_3_4_5_6

 

News

10/01/2022

SNS announces 14 fully-funded PhD positions

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The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy is pleased to announce 14 PhD fellowships beginning on November 1, 2022.

16/07/2021

Prof. della Porta to lead VolkswagenStiftung-funded ECSEuro project

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Reflecting the European challenge of transnational cooperation and multiple crises, this project asks how local political initiatives across Europe enact citizenship and solidarity and contribute to the vision of a more democratic Europe from below.

09/07/2021

SNS announces 7 fully-funded PhD positions

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The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore announces 7 fully-funded PhD positions. Deadline for applications: 21 August 2021.

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.

Publications

Journal Article - 2022

Forging, bending, and breaking: Enacting the “illiberal playbook” in Hungary and Poland

Andrea Pirro & Ben Stanley
We first argue that illiberal changes are ideologically founded and identify how both populism and nativism figure in the policymaking of illiberals in power. We then show how these practices emerge from a common “illiberal playbook”—a paradigm of policy change comprising forms of forging, bending, and breaking—and elaborate on the notion that illiberal governments are using legalism to kill liberalism.

Journal Article - 2022

Populists in power and conspiracy theories

Andrea Pirro & Paul Taggart
Looking at three cases of populists in government – Orbán in Hungary, Trump in the United States, and Chávez in Venezuela – we examine the definition of conspiring elites (who), the circumstances under which conspiracy theories are propagated (when), and the ultimate purpose of conspiratorial framing (why).

Journal Article - 2022

The Three Faces of Populism in Power: Policy, Policies and Politics

Manuela Caiani & Paolo Graziano
The article explores the consequences of the increasing presence of both left- and right-wing populist parties in government, critically reflecting on the recent scholarship on the topic, underlining promising venues for future research and outlining a conceptual framework which constitutes the background of this special issue entitled ‘Populism in Power and its Consequences’.

Monograph - 2022

Resisting the Backlash: Street Protest in Italy

Donatella della Porta, Niccolò Bertuzzi, Daniela Chironi, Chiara Milan, Martín Portos & Lorenzo Zamponi
Drawing interview material, together with extensive data from the authors’ original social movement database, this book examines the development of social movements in resistance to perceived political "regression" and a growing right-wing backlash.

Journal Article - 2022

The mobilization for spatial justice in divided societies. Urban commons, trust reconstruction and socialist memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Chiara Milan
The article contributes to the urban studies literature and the study of social movements in divided societies by disclosing the distinctive features and mobilizing potential that the notion of urban commons retains in a war-torn society with a socialist legacy.

Edited Volume - 2021

Contentious Migrant Solidarity. Shrinking Spaces and Civil Society Contestation

Donatella della Porta & Elias Steinhilper
Building upon social movement and migration studies, this book maps the two sides of ‘contentious solidarity’: a shrinking civic space and its contestation by civil society.

Journal Article - 2021

Learning from Democratic Practices: New Perspectives in Institutional Design

Andrea Felicetti
Drawing from literature on democratic practices in social movements and democratic innovations, the article illustrates three ways to advance institutional design in the wake of the systemic turn.

Journal Article - 2021

Far-right protest mobilisation in Europe: Grievances, opportunities and resources

Pietro Castelli Gattinara, Caterina Froio & Andrea Pirro
In this article, we bridge previous research on the far right and social movements to advance hypotheses on the drivers of far-right protest mobilisation based on grievances, opportunities and resource mobilisation models. We use an original dataset combining novel data on 4,845 far-right protest events in 11 East and West European countries (2008–2018), with existing measures accounting for the (political, economic and cultural) context of mobilisation.

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.