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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Student movements in the age of austerity. The cases of Chile and England

Lorenzo Cini and César Guzmán-Concha

Several recent episodes of massive student protests in countries in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, raise the question of whether we are witnessing to a new surge of student protests. This profile offers an interpretation of the socio-economic and political processes that have caused contentious reactions among students, paying special attention to changes in the major characteristics of the higher education sector.

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2017

Several recent episodes of massive student protests in countries in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, raise the question of whether we are witnessing to a new surge of student protests. This profile offers an interpretation of the socio-economic and political processes that have caused contentious reactions among students, paying special attention to changes in the major characteristics of the higher education sector. In last decades, governments of all colors have enacted laws promoting the outsourcing of personnel, the managerialization of governing bodies, and the introduction of tuition fees as well as cuts to public funding. These changes are inspired by a new paradigm, which promotes the ‘discipline of the market place, the power of the consumer and the engine of the competition’. In this context, various forms of resistance and opposition can be observed. Here, we focus on three dimensions: (1) financing and autonomy of universities; (2) governance and managerialization; (3) precarization of labor conditions. The profile shows how recent protests in Chile and England are related to changes in the aforementioned dimensions. We conclude that the reappearance of students as political actors is related to the emergence of a range of distributional conflicts stemming from the implementation of the neoliberal agenda in the field of higher education.

L. Cini, C. Guzmán-Concha, 2017, "Student movements in the age of austerity. The cases of Chile and England", Social Movement Studies, 16 (3), 2017,Taylor & Francis, London

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14742837.2017.1331122

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.