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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Involving Communities as Skilled Learners: The STRAP Framework

Chiara Milan and Stefania Milan

This chapter offers a ready-to-use community engagement checklist for research in the field of communication for social change. It presents practical questions that any researcher should deal with if willing to involve communities and grassroots groups as active agents with their own values, modes of interactions, and needs. It explains how to promote cycles of dialog, action and reflection throughout the project, and after its conclusion.

Type: Chapter in edited book
Year: 2016

Conducting research in the field of communication for social change typically entails working closely with communities and grassroots groups. Whereas substantial scholarly attention has been given to the various methodologies and to the researcher’s self-reflexive practices, little has been said on the involvement in the research process of communities as skilled learners. This chapter offers a ready-to-use community engagement checklist for research in the field of communication for social change. It presents practical questions that any researcher should deal with if willing to involve communities and grassroots groups as active agents with their own values, modes of interactions, and needs. It explains how to promote cycles of dialog, action and reflection throughout the project, and after its conclusion.

The chapter is situated in the perspective of ‘engaged research’, which “without departing from systematic, evidence-based, social science research, [is] designed to make a difference for disempowered communities and people beyond the academic community” (Milan, 2010, p. 856). It develops around five main issue-areas, each representing a challenge to researchers and addressing a distinct side of the research process: relevance of the research to the community; power, in recognition of the unbalanced relationship that research establishes between the investigator and the research object; translation of research findings for community use and benefit; transparency of the research design and sharing of data and research results, and accountability towards research objects. Each surfaces at one or more phases of the research project, from the selection of research questions to the choice of methods, to theory building and the publication of results. The chapter is grounded on concrete fieldwork experience by the authors, respectively with community radio stations across the world and rural communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and complemented by the experience of affiliated researchers working with migrant communities and women’s groups.

Wildermuth, Norbert, and Teke Ngomba (eds.), Methodological Reflections on Researching Communication and Social Change, Basingstoke (UK): Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 9-28

https://www.palgrave.com/de/book/9783319404653

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.