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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Italian Students as a Political Actor. The Policy Impact of the Recent Student Mobilizations in the Field of Higher Education

Lorenzo Cini

After decades of political passivity, Italian students have massively mobilized in the years 2008 and 2010 to protest the implementation of two political measures fostering a neoliberal conception of higher education. Despite a high rate of participation, none of the two mobilizations managed to alter the political course of events. Why was this the case? My argument is that organizationally and politically fragmented protests are not able to influence policy issues that have a low public relevance, especially in periods of economic crisis and political austerity.

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2017

After decades of political passivity, Italian students have massively mobilized in the years 2008 and 2010 to protest the implementation of two political measures fostering a neoliberal conception of higher education. More notably, the casus belli of these mobilizations concerned the implementation of a financial measure cutting public funding for higher education in 2008, accompanied by a New Public Management (NPM) reform of university governance in 2010. Despite a high rate of participation, none of the two mobilizations managed to alter the political course of events. The Italian government approved and implemented the two measures and the Italian student movement lost this political battle. In short, recent student mobilizations failed to produce any policy impact on the Italian field of higher education. Why was this the case? My argument is that organizationally and politically fragmented protests are not able to influence policy issues that have a low public relevance, especially in periods of economic crisis and political austerity. I contend that this was precisely the case of the Italian student protests of 2008 and 2010.

L. Cini, 2017, "Italian Students as a Political Actor. The Policy Impact of the Recent Student Mobilizations in the Field of Higher Education", Partecipazione e Conflitto, Issue 1(1) 2017, p. 306-332 (DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v10i1p306)

http://siba-ese.unisalento.it/index.php/paco/article/view/17125

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

Comparing Digital Protest Media Imaginaries: Anti-Austerity Movements in Greece, Italy & Spain

Emiliano Treré, Sandra Jeppensen and Alice Mattoni
Drawing on 60 semi­-structured interviews with activists involved in anti-austerity protests, the article brings together social movement studies and communications theories to compare digital protest media imaginaries in Greece, Spain and Italy

Journal Article - 2017

Technopopulism: The Emergence of a Discursive Formation

Marco Deseriis
This article argues that technopopulism is an emerging discursive formation that arises from the convergence of two preexisting discourses: populism and technolibertarianism. Whereas these discourses are historically distinct the global financial crisis and the 2011 wave of struggles precipitated the political conditions for their intersection and hybridization.