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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

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

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

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.

Journal Article - 2017

Successful student activism in contemporary Italian universities

Lorenzo Cini
This article assesses the strategies that the Italian student activists adopted in order to influence the revision process of the governance structure of their universities in 2011