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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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PiCME – Political participation in Complex Media Environments

TEAM

Alice Mattoni, Emiliano Treré, and Diego Ceccobelli

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START YEAR 2015

END YEAR 2019

OVERVIEW

PiCME – Political participation in Complex Media Environments investigates political participation in complex media environments. It does so by looking at how mechanisms and processes of political participation evolve in complex media environments and the consequences within the political sphere at large and in relation to political actors in particular.

This is a crucial topic in contemporary societies, since profound changes in the media sphere have significant impact on how political participation develops today and will evolve in the near future. In the current media environment, political actors tend to interact with a variety of communication technologies, organizations, and professionals in the political sphere. In fact, political participation – from individual involvement to electoral campaigns and protest demonstrations – is intertwined with complex flows of communication, where older and newer media technologies and their logics dispute, collide, and, more often, combine.

However, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of how mechanisms and processes in political participation actually changed in complex media environments and with what consequences for the political sphere as well as the media sphere.

PiCME seeks to fill this void through an interdisciplinary methodology that integrates diverse research traditions from media studies, Internet studies, political science, and political sociology. In doing so, the research project employs an innovative approach that is:

1) Multi-dimensional: the empirical investigation will focus on four interrelated dimensions providing an holistic explanation of political participation in complex media environments: the infrastructures, imaginations, practices, and outcomes related to media technologies employed in the context of political participation;

2) Multi-level: the empirical investigation will address three interrelated levels of analysis seldom combined in studies on political participation: the micro-level of individual citizens who become politically active despite not being affiliated to collective political actors; the meso-level of collective political actors (i.e. political parties and social movements); and the macro-level of big (digital) media corporations that shape the architecture and the affordances of complex media environments;

3) Comparative: the empirical investigation will develop a cross-country comparison focusing on three Southern European countries: Italy, Spain, and Greece. In each country, the analysis will focus on case-studies in the realm of institutional politics and in the realm of non-institutional politics;

4) Mixed methods: the empirical research will combine different methodological traditions, including expert and in-depth interviewing; digital and non-digital ethnography; frame and discourse analysis; and statistical analysis.

*Original picture by Robin Iversen released under the CC License Attribution 2.0 Generic and here partially cut and modified with Gimp.

                                  

FUNDING

Funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research through the grant S.I.R. – Scientific Independence of young Researchers.

Codice Unico Progetto: E52I15000500001. Codice Cineca: RBSI14GUJE

 

News

16/07/2021

Prof. della Porta to lead VolkswagenStiftung-funded ECSEuro project

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Reflecting the European challenge of transnational cooperation and multiple crises, this project asks how local political initiatives across Europe enact citizenship and solidarity and contribute to the vision of a more democratic Europe from below.

09/07/2021

SNS announces 7 fully-funded PhD positions

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The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore announces 7 fully-funded PhD positions. Deadline for applications: 21 August 2021.

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.

Publications

Edited Volume - 2021

Varieties of Populism in Europe in Times of Crises

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Populism is booming across all the nuances of the political spectrum. It occupies relevant positions in national parliaments, in governmental coalitions with mainstream parties or as successful challengers of the political status quo. This volume sheds new light on the topic from different methodological and theoretical angles and offers evidence from a variety of cases on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions on populism’s emergence and consolidation in Europe over the past 30 years.

Journal Article - 2021

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This contribution is conceived as a resource on the state of European populist parties before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It reports on cross-national comparative findings generated by data collected from 30 European countries as to the state of populist parties in one calendar year (2019) and provides an extensive qualitative overview of the national cases.

Journal Article - 2021

Forging, bending, and breaking: Enacting the “illiberal playbook” in Hungary and Poland

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We first argue that illiberal changes are ideologically founded and identify how both populism and nativism figure in the policymaking of illiberals in power. We then show how these practices emerge from a common “illiberal playbook”—a paradigm of policy change comprising forms of forging, bending, and breaking—and elaborate on the notion that illiberal governments are using legalism to kill liberalism.

Edited Volume - 2021

Contentious Migrant Solidarity. Shrinking Spaces and Civil Society Contestation

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Building upon social movement and migration studies, this book maps the two sides of ‘contentious solidarity’: a shrinking civic space and its contestation by civil society.

Journal Article - 2021

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Journal Article - 2021

Populism between voting and non-electoral participation

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Monograph - 2021

Migrant Protest. Interactive Dynamics in Precarious Mobilizations

Elias Steinhilper
This book explores the interactions and spaces shaping the emergence, trajectory, and fragmentation of migrant protest in unfavorable contexts of marginalization.

Journal Article - 2020

We protect the forest beings, and the forest beings protect us: Cultural resistance in the Ecuadorian Amazonia

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The inhabitants of Sarayaku have forged an anti-colonial, anti-extractivist, and anti-capitalist resistance culture. How did that culture develop? How is it articulated? Moreover, how is kawsak sacha positioned in the discussion over the rights of Nature in Latin America? Based on three months of ethnographic research in the community of Sarayaku and more than twenty-five interviews with community members, this article addresses those important questions and argues that securing legal protection may not be a long-term resistance strategy.

Monograph - 2020

The Contentious Politics of Expertise. Experts, activism and grassroots environmentalism

Riccardo Emilio Chesta
Based on mixed-methods research and ethnographic fieldwork at various sites in Italy, this book examines the relationship between expertise and activism in grassroots environmentalism. Bridging the sociology of expertise and contentious politics, the book shows how conflict transforms, rather than inhibits, expertise production into a ‘contentious politics by other means’.

Journal Article - 2019

Alliance building and eventful protests: comparing Spanish and Portuguese trajectories under the Great Recession

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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.