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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

19/12/2017

10 Fully funded 4-years PhD positions in Political Science and Sociology, for the AA. 2018/2019, Scuola Normale Superiore

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The grant is for 4 years. it is open to students of all nationalities. Coverage of research expenses (conferences, summer schools, research periods abroads) is provided.

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

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

Keeping dissent alive under the Great Recession: no-radicalisation and protest in Spain after the eventful 15M/indignados campaign

Martín Portos
Traditional theories of collective action would predict that, after a triggering event, the trajectory of a wave of protest is determined by the institutionalisation–radicalisation tandem. Based on the Spanish cycle of anti-austerity and against the political status quo protest in the shadow of the Great Recession, this article contends with this approach, as a clear trend towards radicalisation is never observed as the cycle unfolds. An alternative interpretative framework is developed to understand protest trajectories when collaborative inter-organisational strategies prevail.