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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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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

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2017

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. Which kind of strategy has enabled these activists to influence more successfully this process? I argue that the joint pressure of insiders and outsiders allows student activists to get their voice more effectively heard from the university leaders than when one of the two forms of pressure is absent. The ‘power of the streets’ exerted by the ‘outsiders’, combined with the institutional power of the ‘insiders’, produces a significant amplifying effect in the governing bodies. University leaders fear this kind of alliance, as they perceive that insiders with a strong tie with other actors are the expression of a collective voice that is difficult to neutralize. On the other hand, the outsiders are also aware that their collective strength is more likely to be translated into institutional power and action from their allies and/or representatives. To empirically probe this proposition, I have singled out three Italian universities (University of Turin, Sapienza of Rome, and Federico II of Naples), which witnessed high levels of student mobilization in the past years (2008–13), and where student activists and their organizations adopted the most different array of strategies. More specifically, while at the University of Turin the student activists were able to deploy simultaneously both forms of pressure, at the Federico II of Naples and Sapienza of Rome one of the two forms was lacking.

Cini, L. (2017). Successful student activism in contemporary Italian universities. Italian Political Science Review/Rivista Italiana Di Scienza Politica, 1-22. doi:10.1017/ipo.2017.12

https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/54844D9407239A9142C0093D52CFEA45/S0048840217000120a.pdf/successful_student_activism_in_contemporary_italian_universities.pdf

News

10/01/2022

SNS announces 14 fully-funded PhD positions

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The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy is pleased to announce 14 PhD fellowships beginning on November 1, 2022.

16/07/2021

Prof. della Porta to lead VolkswagenStiftung-funded ECSEuro project

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Reflecting the European challenge of transnational cooperation and multiple crises, this project asks how local political initiatives across Europe enact citizenship and solidarity and contribute to the vision of a more democratic Europe from below.

09/07/2021

SNS announces 7 fully-funded PhD positions

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The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore announces 7 fully-funded PhD positions. Deadline for applications: 21 August 2021.

28/09/2020

Four post-doctoral research positions on the pandemic

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The Scuola Normale Superiore announces four post-doctoral positions to be activated as part of the research project “After the coronavirus pandemic: The effects of the health emergency on society and knowledge.” 

26/02/2020

CFP Athens conference "Capitalism, Democracy, Contention: A Decade of Crisis" 13-15 May 2020

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Aspiring to shed light on the Greek experience in the era of crisis in a comparative, inter-disciplinary perspective, the Laboratory on Contentious Politics (Department of Political Science and History, Panteion University, Athens), the Centre on Social Movement Studies (Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence) and the Hellenic Political Science Association are organizing an international conference to be held at Panteion University, on 13, 14 and 15 May 2020.

12/12/2019

Prof. Donatella Della Porta to Be Awarded Honorary PhD

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On Friday 13, 2019, the University of the Peloponnese (PSIR) will award an honorary doctorate to Professor Donatella Della Porta, Dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore.

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