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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.

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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

08/06/2017

Call for Papers - Cosmos Conference "The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism"

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The Centre on Social Movement Studies, directed by Professor Donatella Della Porta, calls for papers addressing the recent global wave of student protests for a two-days conference to bel held in Florence, at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), on 15-16 November 2017.

19/05/2017

Video available for the International Conference – Beyond Borders: Refugees and Struggles in Europe Mobilization, Solidarity and Political Challenges in the Long Summer of Migration

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Watch the video of the International Conference – Beyond Borders, which was held at Palazzo Strozzi on May 12, 2017

19/05/2017

Marco Deseriis wins Best Paper Award at the Cedem17 Conference for e-Democracy & Open Government

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Dr. Marco Deseriis, Marie Curie Fellow and Research Fellow at Cosmos, has won the Best Paper Award at the Cedem17 Conference for e-Democracy & Open Government (Danube University, Krems Au Donau, Austria)

Publications

Journal Article - 2017

The Electoral Success of the Radical Left: Explaining the Least Likely Case of the Communist Party in Graz

Manès Weisskircher
Recently, scholars have shown a growing interest in radical left parties (RLPs). In terms of electoral success, the rise of the KPÖ Graz, the Communist Party in Austria’s second biggest city, represents perhaps the most counterintuitive case in Western Europe. This analysis shows how the party has managed to ‘own’ the issue of housing and to exploit local political opportunities in order to be electorally successful. The findings point to the importance of agency and the subnational level for RLPs, and highlight more general questions in the study of this party family.

Journal Article - 2017

Non-deliberative politics in deliberative democracy: distinct approaches for different actors

Andrea Felicetti
In this paper Andrea Felicetti first illustrates the main ideas of the systemic turn, explores the distinction between ‘deliberative’ and ‘non-deliberative’ politics and investigates the main arguments justifying non-deliberative politics. Then, he builds upon these arguments to shed new light on the relationship between deliberative and non-deliberative politics. He identifies three distinctive actors in deliberative systems (political institutions, empowered agents, and public space actors). Finally, he argues that deliberative democrats should adopt three different approaches (intensive, moderate, and free) in order to assess whether the use of non-deliberative politics by each of these actors is legitimate.