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Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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MAKERS – Movements as Knowledge Producers and Learning Spaces in the Digital Age

TEAM

Elena Pavan, Andrea Felicetti, and Arianna Mainardi

WEB SITE

START YEAR 2016

END YEAR 2018

This project aims at fostering and exploring the virtuous encounter between two vibrant research strands that have hitherto developed quite independently one from the other: movements as spaces for knowledge production and learning and the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) within collective action dynamics. It does so by focusing on two transnational action networks: the one coordinated by the Association by Progressive Communications Women’s Right Programme (APC) for reclaiming ICTs  to achieve gender equality, and the Transition Network for environmental sustainability.

By reconstructing the evolution of knowledge production and diffusion practices enacted over time within these two networks across the online/offline boundary, the project seeks to achieve two strictly interrelated aims.

On the one hand, it aims at clarifying the contribution of ICTs in relation to the practices of critical knowledge production and diffusion for the pursuit of social change.

On the other hand, it seeks to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of ICTs not only as organizational and knowledge tools but also as “contested objects”. More specifically, the project aims at providing a systematic and account of grassroots and critical views about the implications of ICTs usage for achieving gender equality and environmental sustainability.

The project leans on an ad-hoc analytic and methodological framework, which combines three traits of innovations.

First, it starts from a unique sociotechnical perspective for which ICTs are considered a preferred tool through which such knowledge is produced and diffused but also as an object of critical reflection in themselves.

Second, it innovates current approaches within movements’ knowledge studies and discussions on the role of ICTs as it considers simultaneously the contents and the practices of knowledge production and diffusion.

Third, it is supported by the triangulation of multiple analytical techniques that aims specifically at the simultaneous consideration of contents and practices within the APC WRP and the Transition Netwok. More particularly, the project combines in-depth interviewing with digital methods (a set of digital research techniques for deriving and analyzing digital data from several platforms, e.g., websites, social media platforms, search engines), qualitative and automated content analysis (a specific set of techniques for systematizing and analyzing the contents of a corpus of selected texts), and big data approaches to online social media and social network data.

 

*Project banner adapted from the Original Photo by Dhyta Caturani, included in the Multimedia Campaign Package of the Take Back The Tech! campaign.

 

                                  

FUNDING

Scuola Normale Superiore – Grant interno

 

News

06/10/2017

Open Democracy Post - "The streets will always be ours" - Catalonia, a referendum from below

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Although some still conceive of the referendum as launched by a pro-independence vanguard, the elite story falls short of explaining the resilient participation of a large part of Catalan civil society. This post at Open Democracy addresses this issue from a different angle.

24/09/2017

New Publication Out - "Social movements and referendums from below. Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis"

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A timely publication to shed light on the link between social movements that formed as a consequence of the 2008 financial crash and the referendums' dynamic and results.

25/08/2017

Donatella Della Porta con Yanis Varoufakis alla 13esima conferenza ESA

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Wednesday, August 30th (8pm-9.30pm) professor della Porta, who directs the Center on Social Movement Studies(Cosmos), will dialogue with Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Minister of Finance during the first Tsipras government, about the future of Europe and the social consequences of neoliberal economies

Publications

Monograph - 2018

Social Movements and Civil War : When Protests for Democratization Fail

Donatella della Porta, Teije Hidde Donker , Bogumila Hall , Emin Poljarevic
This book investigates the origins of civil wars which emerge from failed attempts at democratization. The main aim of this volume is to develop a theoretical explanation of the conditions under which and the mechanisms through which social movements' struggles for democracy ends up in civil war.

Monograph - 2017

Social movements and referendums from below. Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis

Donatella Della Porta, Francis O'Connor, Martin Portos and Anna Subirats Ribas
Out now "Social movements and referendum from below", the first book that bridges the gap between social movement studies and research on direct democracy. It draws on social movement theory to understand the nature of popular mobilisation in referendums using unique case studies such as the referendum on independence in Scotland, the consultations on independence in Catalonia, the Italian referendum on water, the referendum on the Troika proposals in Greece and the referendum on the debt repayment in Iceland.