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Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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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.

Picture description
Type: Monograph
Year: 2017

Over recent years, social movements formed in response to European neoliberal austerity measures have played an increasingly important role in referendums. This is the first book to bridge 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.
Co-authored by one of the world’s leading authorities on social movements, the book uses 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, to illustrate the ways the social movements that formed as a consequence of the 2008 financial crash have affected the referendums’ dynamic and results. It also addresses the way in which participation from below has had a transformative impact on the organisational strategies and framing practices used in the campaigns.
Looking at general issues of democracy, as well as the political effects of neoliberalism, this topical book is ideally suited to understand the reasons for the Brexit result and will be read by a wide audience interested in social movements, referendums and democratic innovation.

Donatella Della Porta, Francis O'Connor, Martin Portos and Anna Subirats Ribas (2017). Social movements and referendums from below Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis. Bristol (UK): Policy Press

https://policypress.co.uk/social-movements-and-referendums-from-below

News

13/12/2017

Call for Paper: Conference “1968-2018, fifty years after: Where is the social movements field going?”

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Taking the 1968 anniversary as a stimulating moment for reflection, this conference seeks to provide space for looking at the implications of that period on social movement research as well as addressing a number of key questions in current social movement research.

04/12/2017

Martin Portos Garcia wins the ISA's Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists

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The International Sociological Association has just announced the list of the winners of the Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists engaged in social research, amongst which Martin Portos Garcia - post-doc fellow at COSMOS

10/11/2017

Call for Application Now Open: Summer School on Youth Political Participation in Times of Inequalities

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We are pleased to announce that the call for applications is now open for the Summer School on Youth Political Participation in Times of Inequalities, sponsored by the Reinventing Democracy in Europe: Youth Doing Politics in Times of Increasing Inequalities project (EURYKA) and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS).

Publications

Journal Article - 2017

Repertoires of knowledge practices: Social movements in times of crisis

Donatella della Porta and Elena Pavan
Starting from the assumption that knowledge becomes all the more important for movements in times of crisis, as old structures are challenged and new ones envisaged and proved feasible, the purpose of this paper is to suggest ways to expand the toolkit of social movement studies in order to empirically address knowledge practices as a meaningful part of contemporary progressive activism.

Journal Article - 2017

’Solidarietà sconvenienti’. Reti online di estrema destra contro e per la riforma dell’Europa

Elena Pavan and Manuela Caiani
By focusing on the websites of extreme right organizations in six European countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and by making a combined use of digital research tools and social network analysis, we explore how extreme right organizations make a strategic use of ICTs to connect in the online space and the arguments they move forward to criticize and reform current projects of European integration. Our results suggest that ICTs sustain the construction of inconvenient solidarities in heterogeneous ways, supporting different modes of online conversations amongst extreme right websites which, in turn, affect their capacity to propose shared critiques and proposals to reform the European Union.