The Centre on Social Movement Studies


Mobilizing for Democracy

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The ERC Advanced Grant Project Mobilizing for Democracy addresses social movements participation in democratization processes, from transition to the deepening of democracy.

The research is directed by Donatella della Porta.



As planned the first months of the research project have been devoted to a better refinement of the theoretical model presented in the proposal, to the conceptualization as well as to the selection of the sources and the specification of the instruments for the empirical research. The results of this theoretical work helped me in conceptualizing the phenomena to investigate as eventful democratization as well as democratic deepening and locating them within the social science literature on democratic transitions and democratic quality. The results of this part of the work are reported in a Donatella della Porta, Can Democracy be Saved?, Polity Press, 2013 as well as in some entries I have written for the Blackwell Encyclopedia on Social and Political Movements, David Snow, Bert Klandermans, Donatella della Porta, and Doug McAdam (Blackwell, 2013). Issues of deepening democracy are also addressed in the volume Meeting Democracy, edited by Donatella della Porta and Dieter Rucht (Cambridge University Press 2013) as well as in several articles.

The project is articulated into six main research strands:



European Research Council (ERC) Grant [269136]







"Standing up for Science" - a documentary by Dieter Rucht

A documentary by Dieter Rucht on the 2017 March for Science in Washington, D.C. - now available on YouTube.


COSMOS Talks Calendar - Second Semester 2018

Read here the full calendar of the COSMOS Talks Series


Call for Application Now Open: Summer School on Concepts and Methods for Research on Far-Right Politics

We are pleased to announce that the call for applications is now open for the 1st Summer School of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy on ‘Concepts and Methods for Research on Far-Right Politics’, sponsored by the Centre for Research on Extremism (C-REX), the European Council for Political Research (ECPR), and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS).


Edited Volume - 2018

Solidarity Mobilizations in the ‘Refugee Crisis’. Contentious Moves

Donatella della Porta (ed.)
This edited volume ddresses a gap in research on social movements that has disregarded the origins of discontent and overlooks protest as a resource of the powerless; it offers insight into how the movement of refugees across the European Union and elsewhere activates political opportunities; it explores claims to citizenship made by refugees within processes of knowledge production and the mobilization of emotions

Journal Article - 2017

Reshaping Citizenship through Collective Action: Performative and Prefigurative Practices in the 2013–2014 Cycle of Contention in Bosnia & Hercegovina

Chiara Milan
This essay analyses the strategic practices adopted by social movement actors during the 2013 and 2014 mobilisations in Bosnia & Hercegovina. By bridging critical citizenship studies with literature on social movements, it classifies them as belonging to the realm of activist citizenship, but also as having a performative and prefigurative dimension.