The Centre on Social Movement Studies


With arms wide shut: threat perception, norm reception and mobilized resistance to LGBT rights

Phillip M. Ayoub

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2014

This article utilizes original survey and interview data to explore why norms governing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights mobilize an active resistance in some cases and not in others. Based on a comparison of Poland and Slovenia, this article shows that differing perceptions of threat define the way international norms are received in distinct domestic realms. Threat perception is heightened in cases where religion is historically embedded in the essence of the popular nation. In Poland, the Catholic Church created a role for itself as a symbol of the nation. There, the domestic opposition succeeded in framing a narrative that linked LGBT rights to external forces threatening national values. By contrast, the Catholic Church in Slovenia could neither maintain nor (re-)establish similarly strong ties to the popular nation, stifling the opposition’s ability to mobilize a robust popular resistance. Whether resistance is effectual, however, is a related but separate question. The data suggest that resistance produced in high-threat contexts can be self-defeating in that it enhances the salience of the norm in the domestic setting.

Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 337-362




"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.