The Centre on Social Movement Studies


Can democracy be saved? Participation, deliberation and social movements

Donatella della Porta

Picture description
Type: Monograph
Year: 2013

Financial crisis, economic globalization and the strengthening of neoliberal policies present stark challenges to traditional conceptions of representative democracy. Yet, at the same time, new opportunities are emerging that propose alternative visions for the future of democracy. In this highly articulate book, Donatella della Porta analyses diverse conceptions and practices of participatory and deliberative democracy, building upon recent reflections in normative theory as well as original empirical research. As well as drawing on key historical examples, the book pays close attention to the current revitalization of social movements: the Arab Spring uprisings in processes of democratic transition; the potential of new technologies to develop so-called e-democracy in the Indignados and Occupy Wall Street protests; and proposals for cosmopolitan democracy found in recent campaigns for democratization of the European Union and United Nations. Alongside such social movements, the book also assesses institutional reactions, from the policing of protest to efforts at reform.


Table of Contents:

• Acknowledgments 1 Models of Democracy: An Introduction 2 Liberal Democracy: Evolution and Challenges 3 Participatory Democracy 4 Deliberative Democracy: Between Representation and Participation 5 E-Democracy? New Technologies and Democratic Deepening 6 The Challenge of Global Governance 7 Democratization and Social Movements 8 Restricting Citizens’ Participation: The Policing of Protest 9 Deliberative Experiments inside Institutions 10 Can Democracy Be Saved? A Conclusion • Notes • Bibliography • Index
Cambridge ; Malden : Polity Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780745664606; 9780745664590



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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.