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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Deliberative Democracy and Social Movements. Transition Initiatives in the Public Sphere

Andrea Felicetti

By offering a critical assessment of deliberation in social movement organisations, this study identifies key aspects affecting their ability to pursue democratic deliberation and sheds new light on the role of community actors in deliberative democracy.

Type: Monograph
Year: 2016

Deliberative democracy is increasingly central in democratic theory and its concepts are employed in a growing number of fields, including social movement studies and environmental politics. At the same time, contemporary citizen activism seems to feature some forms of engagement that resonate with deliberative democratic ideas.This book provides an in-depth investigation of the qualities of citizens’ engagement from a deliberative democratic standpoint. The key concept through which such qualities are investigated is ‘deliberative capacity’, the extent to which organisations host authentic, inclusive, and consequential discursive processes. This book is based on a comparative study of four grassroots local initiatives, two from Australia (in Tasmania and Queensland) and two from Italy (in Emilia-Romagna and Sicily).By offering a critical assessment of deliberation in social movement organisations, this study identifies key aspects affecting their ability to pursue democratic deliberation and sheds new light on the role of community actors in deliberative democracy.

 

Reviews

Integrating deliberative democratic theory and empirical analysis, Deliberative Democracy and Social Movements offers a fresh analysis of the Transition movement through case studies in Australia and Italy. Felicetti methodically and contextually examines the deliberative capacity of each case study in terms of authenticity, inclusivity, and social impact. In so doing the book represents a significant advance in both deliberative democratic theory and social movement analysis of sustainability oriented active citizenship initiatives. Deliberative Democracy and Social Movements is a pioneering study, the first attempt to map and conceptualise ‘deliberative opportunity structures’ and deliberative capacity.

John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy, Queens University Belfast

Andrea Felicetti finds a potential for public deliberation within social movements seeking to forestall climate change through community activism. This ‘Transition’ movement can, at times, create authentic, inclusive, and consequential spaces for public debate. By studying four cases with varied results, Felicetti helps us see how social movements can dovetail with the more abstract aims of deliberative democracy to transform simultaneously environmental policy and politics itself.

John Gastil, Senior Scholar at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, Penn State University

Andrea Felicetti has used a rare combination of theoretical frameworks and qualitative research to produce something that few other works on deliberative democracy can offer: real guidance for activists who want to be both democratic and effective, and real-world tests of theorists’ ideals. This book will be valuable not only to deliberative democrats, but social movement scholars and activists alike.

John Parkinson, Professor of Politics, Griffith University

Andrea Felicetti (2016). Deliberative Democracy and Social Movements. Transition Initiatives in the Public Sphere, London: Rowman & Littlefield International

http://www.rowmaninternational.com/books/deliberative-democracy-and-social-movements

News

10/01/2022

SNS announces 14 fully-funded PhD positions

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The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy is pleased to announce 14 PhD fellowships beginning on November 1, 2022.

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.

Publications

Journal Article - 2022

Populists in power and conspiracy theories

Andrea Pirro & Paul Taggart
Looking at three cases of populists in government – Orbán in Hungary, Trump in the United States, and Chávez in Venezuela – we examine the definition of conspiring elites (who), the circumstances under which conspiracy theories are propagated (when), and the ultimate purpose of conspiratorial framing (why).

Monograph - 2022

Resisting the Backlash: Street Protest in Italy

Donatella della Porta, Niccolò Bertuzzi, Daniela Chironi, Chiara Milan, Martín Portos & Lorenzo Zamponi
Drawing interview material, together with extensive data from the authors’ original social movement database, this book examines the development of social movements in resistance to perceived political "regression" and a growing right-wing backlash.

Journal Article - 2022

The mobilization for spatial justice in divided societies. Urban commons, trust reconstruction and socialist memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Chiara Milan
The article contributes to the urban studies literature and the study of social movements in divided societies by disclosing the distinctive features and mobilizing potential that the notion of urban commons retains in a war-torn society with a socialist legacy.

Journal Article - 2022

Casting a new light on the democratic spectator

Andrea Felicetti
Scholarship in relation to democratic theory tends to see spectatorship as a state in which citizens are politically uninterested, isolated, and passive. In this article, the author shows that positive spectatorship occurs when citizens show an interest in one or more political problems and, together with others, strive to understand them better.

Journal Article - 2022

Far right: The significance of an umbrella concept

Andrea Pirro
This contribution makes the case for a shift in boundaries between the (populist) radical right and the extreme right, arguing for the systematic use of the term ‘far right’.

Journal Article - 2022

Performing (during) the Coronavirus crisis: The Italian populist radical right between national opposition and subnational government

Andrea Pirro
The first year of COVID-19 confirmed the standing of the populist radical right in Italy. While sitting in opposition at the national level, Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy and Matteo Salvini's League shared common criticism of the Conte II government but experienced diverging trajectories in terms of popularity. These changes can be partly attributed to the different agency of their leaderships. Overall and collectively considered, the Italian populist radical right broke even during the first year of COVID-19, but the crisis exposed the first cracks in Salvini's leadership.

Monograph - 2022

Contentious Politics in Emergency Critical Junctures

Donatella della Porta
Based on existing research on the first phases of the pandemic Covid-19, this Element addresses the ways in with the health emergency had an impact on the repertoire of action, the organizational networks and the collective framing of progressive social movements that adapted to the pandemic conditions and the related crises, but also tried to transform them.

Edited Volume - 2021

Contentious Migrant Solidarity. Shrinking Spaces and Civil Society Contestation

Donatella della Porta & Elias Steinhilper
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

Learning from Democratic Practices: New Perspectives in Institutional Design

Andrea Felicetti
Drawing from literature on democratic practices in social movements and democratic innovations, the article illustrates three ways to advance institutional design in the wake of the systemic turn.

Journal Article - 2021

Far-right protest mobilisation in Europe: Grievances, opportunities and resources

Pietro Castelli Gattinara, Caterina Froio & Andrea Pirro
In this article, we bridge previous research on the far right and social movements to advance hypotheses on the drivers of far-right protest mobilisation based on grievances, opportunities and resource mobilisation models. We use an original dataset combining novel data on 4,845 far-right protest events in 11 East and West European countries (2008–2018), with existing measures accounting for the (political, economic and cultural) context of mobilisation.