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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

08/06/2017

Call for Papers - Cosmos Conference "The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism"

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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.

19/05/2017

Video available for the International Conference – Beyond Borders: Refugees and Struggles in Europe Mobilization, Solidarity and Political Challenges in the Long Summer of Migration

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Watch the video of the International Conference – Beyond Borders, which was held at Palazzo Strozzi on May 12, 2017

19/05/2017

Marco Deseriis wins Best Paper Award at the Cedem17 Conference for e-Democracy & Open Government

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Dr. Marco Deseriis, Marie Curie Fellow and Research Fellow at Cosmos, has won the Best Paper Award at the Cedem17 Conference for e-Democracy & Open Government (Danube University, Krems Au Donau, Austria)

Publications

Journal Article - 2017

The Electoral Success of the Radical Left: Explaining the Least Likely Case of the Communist Party in Graz

Manès Weisskircher
Recently, scholars have shown a growing interest in radical left parties (RLPs). In terms of electoral success, the rise of the KPÖ Graz, the Communist Party in Austria’s second biggest city, represents perhaps the most counterintuitive case in Western Europe. This analysis shows how the party has managed to ‘own’ the issue of housing and to exploit local political opportunities in order to be electorally successful. The findings point to the importance of agency and the subnational level for RLPs, and highlight more general questions in the study of this party family.

Journal Article - 2017

Non-deliberative politics in deliberative democracy: distinct approaches for different actors

Andrea Felicetti
In this paper Andrea Felicetti first illustrates the main ideas of the systemic turn, explores the distinction between ‘deliberative’ and ‘non-deliberative’ politics and investigates the main arguments justifying non-deliberative politics. Then, he builds upon these arguments to shed new light on the relationship between deliberative and non-deliberative politics. He identifies three distinctive actors in deliberative systems (political institutions, empowered agents, and public space actors). Finally, he argues that deliberative democrats should adopt three different approaches (intensive, moderate, and free) in order to assess whether the use of non-deliberative politics by each of these actors is legitimate.