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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

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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

13/12/2017

Call for Paper: Conference “1968-2018, fifty years after: Where is the social movements field going?”

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Taking the 1968 anniversary as a stimulating moment for reflection, this conference seeks to provide space for looking at the implications of that period on social movement research as well as addressing a number of key questions in current social movement research.

04/12/2017

Martin Portos Garcia wins the ISA's Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists

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The International Sociological Association has just announced the list of the winners of the Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists engaged in social research, amongst which Martin Portos Garcia - post-doc fellow at COSMOS

10/11/2017

Call for Application Now Open: Summer School on Youth Political Participation in Times of Inequalities

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We are pleased to announce that the call for applications is now open for the Summer School on Youth Political Participation in Times of Inequalities, sponsored by the Reinventing Democracy in Europe: Youth Doing Politics in Times of Increasing Inequalities project (EURYKA) and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS).

Publications

Journal Article - 2017

Repertoires of knowledge practices: Social movements in times of crisis

Donatella della Porta and Elena Pavan
Starting from the assumption that knowledge becomes all the more important for movements in times of crisis, as old structures are challenged and new ones envisaged and proved feasible, the purpose of this paper is to suggest ways to expand the toolkit of social movement studies in order to empirically address knowledge practices as a meaningful part of contemporary progressive activism.

Journal Article - 2017

’Solidarietà sconvenienti’. Reti online di estrema destra contro e per la riforma dell’Europa

Elena Pavan and Manuela Caiani
By focusing on the websites of extreme right organizations in six European countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and by making a combined use of digital research tools and social network analysis, we explore how extreme right organizations make a strategic use of ICTs to connect in the online space and the arguments they move forward to criticize and reform current projects of European integration. Our results suggest that ICTs sustain the construction of inconvenient solidarities in heterogeneous ways, supporting different modes of online conversations amongst extreme right websites which, in turn, affect their capacity to propose shared critiques and proposals to reform the European Union.