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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Civil Society and the Velvet Revolution: Mobilizing for democracy in Czechoslovakia

Daniel P. Ritter

Type: Working Paper
Year: 2012

In the late 1980s Czechoslovakia was considered one of the most repressive countries in Eastern Europe and a staunch Soviet ally. In the aftermath of the ‘Prague Spring’ of 1968, repressed with Soviet help, the regime managed to remove virtually all expressions of dissent. Yet in the fall of 1989 civil society forces inspired a popular uprising that put an end to Czechoslovakian authoritarianism and ushered in the transition to democracy. How could a ‘Velvet Revolution’ from below take place in such a repressive context? What role did civil society actors play in the transition? And what structural and international factors help us solve this puzzle? These are some of the questions this working paper seeks to answer.

EUI SPS - Cosmos Working Paper 2012/04

2012WP04COSMOS

News

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.

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The call for papers is now open for a two-day conference on class and identities at the Scuola Normale Superiore on 14-15 November 2019

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This contribution enhances our understanding of the contemporary far right by focusing on the neglected links between movements and elections within the broader context of contention.

Journal Article - 2019

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Exploring the case of the cocaleros of the Chapare, this article argues that more emphasis should be placed on mechanisms that are internal to the movements, such as: (a) the resonance of other political experiences at home and abroad, (b) internal struggles for ideological hegemony, and (c) the political formation of their grassroots.