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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Nationalism and Transitions: Mobilizing for democracy in Yugoslavia

Daniel P. Ritter

Type: Working Paper
Year: 2012

The Yugoslav transition(s) to democracy is perhaps the most complex of all the Eastern European cases. It can be argued that Yugoslavia enjoyed the most favorable initial conditions of any country in the region: the regime was relatively liberal, there was an indigenous, vibrant civil society, an economic crisis had put politicians on the defensive, and the country was not overly tied to either Western or Eastern influence. Had these structural conditions been the full story, Yugoslavia might have been able to dissolve without the most violent war Europe has experienced since 1945. However, one major factor came to trump all others: nationalism. The history of Yugoslavia’s fall cannot be told without attention to ethnic rivalries. Since the country was a federation consisting of six republics and two autonomous provinces imposed on its citizens by the communists that came to power after World War II, only communism could hold the federation together. Once that (discredited) ideological glue was removed, Yugoslavia collapsed on itself.

EUI SPS - Cosmos Working Paper 2012/03. Full text available

2012WP03COSMOS

News

06/10/2017

Open Democracy Post - "The streets will always be ours" - Catalonia, a referendum from below

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Although some still conceive of the referendum as launched by a pro-independence vanguard, the elite story falls short of explaining the resilient participation of a large part of Catalan civil society. This post at Open Democracy addresses this issue from a different angle.

24/09/2017

New Publication Out - "Social movements and referendums from below. Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis"

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A timely publication to shed light on the link between social movements that formed as a consequence of the 2008 financial crash and the referendums' dynamic and results.

25/08/2017

Donatella Della Porta con Yanis Varoufakis alla 13esima conferenza ESA

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Wednesday, August 30th (8pm-9.30pm) professor della Porta, who directs the Center on Social Movement Studies(Cosmos), will dialogue with Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Minister of Finance during the first Tsipras government, about the future of Europe and the social consequences of neoliberal economies

Publications

Monograph - 2018

Social Movements and Civil War : When Protests for Democratization Fail

Donatella della Porta, Teije Hidde Donker , Bogumila Hall , Emin Poljarevic
This book investigates the origins of civil wars which emerge from failed attempts at democratization. The main aim of this volume is to develop a theoretical explanation of the conditions under which and the mechanisms through which social movements' struggles for democracy ends up in civil war.

Monograph - 2017

Social movements and referendums from below. Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis

Donatella Della Porta, Francis O'Connor, Martin Portos and Anna Subirats Ribas
Out now "Social movements and referendum from below", the first book that bridges the gap between social movement studies and research on direct democracy. It draws on social movement theory to understand the nature of popular mobilisation in referendums using unique case studies such as the referendum on independence in Scotland, the consultations on independence in Catalonia, the Italian referendum on water, the referendum on the Troika proposals in Greece and the referendum on the debt repayment in Iceland.