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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

21/06/2019

Call for papers: "The Nation and the Radical Left - Practices and Discourses of National Identity in Left-Wing Politics"

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The call for papers is now open for a conference on national identities and left-wing politics.

18/06/2019

Call for papers: “Class without consciousness” – The Politics of Fragmented Class Identities

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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

05/03/2019

A dialogue on labour, trade unions and conflicts

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On the 22nd of March, from 4pm to 7pm, Donatella della Porta (Scuola Normale Superiore) and Maurizio Landini (Secretary General of CGIL) will discuss about labour, trade unions and conflicts.

Publications

Journal Article - 2019

Ballots and barricades enhanced: far‐right ‘movement parties’ and movement‐electoral interactions

Andrea Pirro
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

From the Rainy Place to the Burnt Palace: How Social Movements Form their Political Strategies. The Case of the Six Federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba

Leonidas Oikonomakis
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.