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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

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

Journal Article - 2020

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.

Journal Article - 2020

Reverting trajectories? UKIP’s organisational and discursive change after the Brexit referendum

Ofra Klein & Andrea Pirro
While showing UKIP’s projection into a new phase of its political lifecycle, the findings qualify the notion that the party has radicalised its (online) discourse as a result of (offline) organisational changes.

Special Issue - 2020

The Cultural Side of Populism: Politics, Emotions, Music and Subcultures in Populist Times

Manuela Caiani & Enrico Padoan
This special issue aims to combine an analytical perspective with an empirical focus on current populism(s) in Europe and their cultural aspects.

Journal Article - 2020

On corruption and state capture: The struggle of anti-corruption activism in Hungary

Andrea Pirro & Donatella della Porta
The article draws on social movement theory to understand collective action against corruption in Hungary. While offering a perspective on anti-corruption activism, the article demonstrates its limits against a set of unfavourable factors.

Monograph - 2020

Discursive Turns and Critical Junctures: Debating Citizenship after the Charlie Hebdo Attacks

Donatella della Porta, Pietro Castelli Gattinara, Konstantinos Eleftheriadis & Andrea Felicetti
The book offers an in-depth analysis of the unfolding of the public debate in terms of content of claims making, framing, and justifications as well as the quality (deliberativeness) of the discourses by a variety of actors in the public sphere.

Journal Article - 2020

Systemic Unsustainability as a Threat to Democracy

Andrea Felicetti
In a context of resilient unsustainability, protesters have little expectation that institutions might address the ecological crisis and this view is likely to spread. New ways of thinking about this problem and a new research agenda are needed.

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.