The Centre on Social Movement Studies



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The Wiley-Blackwell encyclopedia of social and political movements

Edited Volume - 2013

Authors: David A. Snow; Donatella della Porta; Bert Klandermans; Doug McAdam

Non-institutionalized collective action is such a conspicuous feature of today’s social landscape, exemplified by recent events in the Arab world, that a day rarely goes by in which the news does not refer to a social movement or protest activity. The study of these movements is important on many levels, especially in the greater understanding… more

Bread, Freedom, Human Dignity: Tales of an unfinished revolution in Egypt

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Jana Warkotsch

When at the height of the 'Arab Spring' Egyptians from all walks of life took to the streets to oust one of the Arab world's most long-standing dictators, it took both Egyptians and outside observers by surprise. This report explores the events commonly described as the January 25 Revolution in Egypt, as well as the… more

Civil Society and the Paralyzed State: Mobilizing for democracy in East Germany

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Daniel P. Ritter

Among cases of transition to democracy from below, the East German one constitutes a particularly challenging puzzle. Whereas social movements taking advantage of an oppositional space within a repressive context have preceded many transitions, the East German case shows little evidence of such large-scale prior opposition. Even when compared to other Eastern European transitions, East… more

Civil Society and the Velvet Revolution: Mobilizing for democracy in Czechoslovakia

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Daniel P. Ritter

In the late 1980s Czechoslovakia was considered one of the most repressive countries in Eastern Europe and a staunch Soviet ally. In the aftermath of the 'Prague Spring' of 1968, repressed with Soviet help, the regime managed to remove virtually all expressions of dissent. Yet in the fall of 1989 civil society forces inspired a… more

Desperately Seeking Politics: Political attitudes of participants in three demonstrations for worker's rights in Italy

Journal Article - 2012

Authors: Donatella della Porta; Herbert Reiter

Social conflicts tend to take different forms. This article compares three demonstrations on issues of social justice in Italy: a traditional Labor Day demonstration, a march supporting a general strike called by the largest trade union CGIL (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, Italian General Confederation of Labour), and the EuroMayDay parade, representing a "new" type… more

From the Coup to the Escalation of Violence: The transition to democracy in Romania

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Federico Matías Rossi

Romania was the only example of violent regime change in the central and south eastern European milieu, with massive mobilizations both in favour and against change and the execution of the dictator. In other words, there seems to have been an attempted coup d'état in Romania, one that was successful thanks to the unplanned escalation… more

Global Movements in Local Struggles: Findings on the Social Forum Process in Italy

Chapter in edited book - 2012

Author: Donatella della Porta and Lorenzo Mosca

This chapter addresses the developments of local social forums in Italy. It looks especially at their network structures, framing and repertoires of action, as well as their consequences on the Italian social movement sector.

Grassroots Groups and Civil Society Actors in Pro-Democratic Transitions in Poland

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Grzegorz Piotrowski

The transition to democracy in 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe is said to be the achievement of the dissident sector. In Poland the biggest power in the democratization process was the Solidarność trade union. At the same time many smaller grassroots groups from that time remain unnoticed and their influence on the democratization process… more

Guest Editorial: Processes of radicalization and de-radicalization

Journal Article - 2012

Authors: Donatella della Porta; Gery Lafree

The study of radicalization and de-radicalization, understood as processes leading towards the increased or decreased use of political violence, is central to the question of how political violence emerges, how it can be prevented, and how it can be contained. The focus section of this issue of the International Journal of Conflict and Violence addresses… more



"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.