The Centre on Social Movement Studies


The Riots. A dynamic View

Donatella della Porta and Bernard Gbikpii

Type: Chapter in edited book
Year: 2012

Most social science concepts are contested—but some more so. This is the case for riot, that (as terrorism or Nimby), derives from everyday language, and is used in a stigmatizing way to single out irrational and deviant behavior. While people freely admit that they demonstrate, even in unconventional and sometime “disobedient”, forms, they usually deny that they are rioting, using different terms for defining what they are doing. Additionally, in the social sciences as well as in the political debate, the riot as a form of violence received only sporadic attention. As for other forms of violence, the interpretations about riots and rioting vary dramatically, being influenced by both the specific characteristics of the analysed riots as well as the scientific or political background positions of the analysts. Focusing on the debate in the social science and historical research, and using as illustrations the analysis of the most recent “riots” in France in December 2005 and in Greece in 2008, this presentation addresses: a) The causes for riots: the riots’ narratives; b) The riots within: riots dynamics.

Seraphim SEFERIADES and Hank JOHNSTON (eds), Violent Protest, Contentious Politics and the neo-liberal State, Farnham, Ashgate, 2012, The Mobilization Series on Social Movements, Protest, and Culture, 87-102. ISBN: 9781409418764



"Standing up for Science" - a documentary by Dieter Rucht

A documentary by Dieter Rucht on the 2017 March for Science in Washington, D.C. - now available on YouTube.


COSMOS Talks Calendar - Second Semester 2018

Read here the full calendar of the COSMOS Talks Series


Call for Application Now Open: Summer School on Concepts and Methods for Research on Far-Right Politics

We are pleased to announce that the call for applications is now open for the 1st Summer School of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy on ‘Concepts and Methods for Research on Far-Right Politics’, sponsored by the Centre for Research on Extremism (C-REX), the European Council for Political Research (ECPR), and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS).


Edited Volume - 2018

Solidarity Mobilizations in the ‘Refugee Crisis’. Contentious Moves

Donatella della Porta (ed.)
This edited volume ddresses a gap in research on social movements that has disregarded the origins of discontent and overlooks protest as a resource of the powerless; it offers insight into how the movement of refugees across the European Union and elsewhere activates political opportunities; it explores claims to citizenship made by refugees within processes of knowledge production and the mobilization of emotions

Journal Article - 2017

Reshaping Citizenship through Collective Action: Performative and Prefigurative Practices in the 2013–2014 Cycle of Contention in Bosnia & Hercegovina

Chiara Milan
This essay analyses the strategic practices adopted by social movement actors during the 2013 and 2014 mobilisations in Bosnia & Hercegovina. By bridging critical citizenship studies with literature on social movements, it classifies them as belonging to the realm of activist citizenship, but also as having a performative and prefigurative dimension.