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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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The Unintended Consequence of the Struggle for Independence: The transition to democracy in the Baltic Countries

Federico Matías Rossi

Type: Working Paper
Year: 2012

The Baltic countries’ struggle was for independence more than any other thing. The achievement of democracy was a by-product of the secessionist project of increasing autonomy from Moscow. A possible explanation for this could be that representative democracy became an implicit and obvious ideal regime for the elites and local populations. As for the successes of the independence movements in the Baltic countries, five crucial events paved the way for independence as the only exit strategy for the Baltic SSRs. First, Gorbachev promoted the mobilization of civil society, expecting support for his reform program, but miscalculating the relevance of nationalism for the Soviet Republics. Second, after mobilization had become widespread, Gorbachev lost the opportunity to build the USSR as a confederation because he refused to accept that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was illegal. Third, this issue, plus the failure of attempts to repress mobilizations, led to increased unification among all the mobilized sectors, in turn leading to a two-million-strong human chain protest. Fourth, the first multiparty elections in the Baltic countries saw a clear majority support the pro-independence groups, allowing for a quick and institutionalized process of secession. Finally, after the failed coup against Gorbachev the project of a voluntary federation collapsed, making independence a de jure fact since the correlation of power favoured Yeltsin’s decentralization model.

EUI SPS - Cosmos Working Paper 2012/11

2012WP11COSMOS

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.