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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Publications

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How “Urban” Is Urban Policy Making?

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Raffaele Bazurli

Contemporary cities are both creators and receptors of global-scale collective problems. City-dwellers must cope with such far-reaching transformations that affect their communities and yet lie beyond the full jurisdiction of local administrations. Starting from this conundrum, this article seeks to answer the following questions: What is distinctive about urban policy making? What are its typical… more

Nationalism and populism on the left: The case of Podemos

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Jacopo Custodi

This article provides an empirical exploration of the relation between nationalism and populism on the left of the political spectrum. The Spanish party Podemos is a key case study for such an analysis, as it is a left‐populist actor that has made extensive use of nationalist rhetoric in its discourse. Through a discourse analysis on… more

On corruption and state capture: The struggle of anti-corruption activism in Hungary

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Andrea Pirro & Donatella della Porta

The article draws on social movement theory to understand collective action against corruption in Hungary. While offering a perspective on anti-corruption activism, the article demonstrates its limits against a set of unfavourable factors. Our enquiry reveals that the political context in which anti-corruption activism develops, that is, Hungary under Viktor Orbán, critically affects its mobilising… more

Populism and the (Italian) crisis: The voters and the context

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Manuela Caiani & Enrico Padoan

This article, focusing on Italy, aims to broaden our understanding of the recent striking electoral fortunes of (differing types of) populism in the country, by locating them within multiple crises (political, economic, migration) that have shocked Europe in the last two decades. By combining individual-level survey data on voters with organizational-level interviews conducted with national… more

Rethinking the digital democratic affordance and its impact on political representation: Toward a new framework

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Marco Deseriis

This article advances a new theory of the digital democratic affordance, a concept first introduced by Lincoln Dahlberg to devise a taxonomy of the democratic capacities of digital media applications. Whereas Dahlberg classifies digital media affordances on the basis of preexisting democratic positions, the article argues that the primary affordance of digital media is to… more

Reverting trajectories? UKIP’s organisational and discursive change after the Brexit referendum

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Ofra Klein & Andrea Pirro

The article focuses on the transformation of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) after the 2016 Brexit referendum. It describes how, after securing its chief political demand, UKIP opened up to grassroots far-right politics and assesses whether this strategy involved a concomitant shift towards a more radical discourse. Against a backdrop of organisational change, the findings… more

Shelter from the Storm: «Virtuous» Systems of Urban Asylum Governance Coping with Italy’s Immigration Crackdown

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Raffaele Bazurli, Francesca Campomori & Mattia Casula

Immigration and asylum became tremendously contested in Italy over the last decade. Especially since 2017, left-leaning executives eroded asylum rights for the sake of competing with their right-wing opponents. The climax was then reached in 2018, when Matteo Salvini – leader of the far-right Lega party and newly appointed Minister of the Interior – authored… more

Systemic Unsustainability as a Threat to Democracy

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Andrea Felicetti

Resilient socioeconomic unsustainability poses a threat to democracy whose importance has yet to be fully acknowledged. As the prospect of sustainability transition wanes, so does perceived legitimacy of institutions. This further limits representative institutions’ ability to take action, making democratic deepening all the more urgent. I investigate this argument through an illustrative case study, the… more
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The Contentious Politics of Expertise. Experts, activism and grassroots environmentalism

Monograph - 2020

Author: Riccardo Emilio Chesta

Based on mixed-methods research and ethnographic fieldwork at various sites in Italy, this book examines the relationship between expertise and activism in grassroots environmentalism. Presenting interviews with citizens, activists and experts, it considers activism surrounding infrastructure in urban areas, in connection with water management, transport, tour- ism and waste disposal. Through comparisons between different political… more

The Cultural Side of Populism: Politics, Emotions, Music and Subcultures in Populist Times

Special Issue - 2020

Author: Manuela Caiani & Enrico Padoan

This special issue addresses different cultural and symbolic elements of politics and populism, including music, emotions, narratives, discourses and frames, and visual symbols repertoires from popular culture, bringing together contributions that explore their empirical manifestations in several European countries and beyond. Each contribution is a stand-alone article in which the author has selected one or… more

News

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.

22/07/2019

Protest for a future: international report on #FridaysForFuture and the climate strike

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Composition, mobilization and motives of the participants in Fridays For Future climate protests on 15 March 2019, in 13 European cities. A multi-country collaboration report, with contributions from COSMOS researchers Lorenzo Zamponi, Donatella della Porta, Martín Portos, Niccolò Bertuzzi and Daniela Chironi.

21/06/2019

Call for papers: "The Nation and the Radical Left - Practices and Discourses of National Identity in Left-Wing Politics"

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The call for papers is now open for a conference on national identities and left-wing politics.

18/06/2019

Call for papers: “Class without consciousness” – The Politics of Fragmented Class Identities

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The call for papers is now open for a two-day conference on class and identities at the Scuola Normale Superiore on 14-15 November 2019

Publications

Edited Volume - 2021

Varieties of Populism in Europe in Times of Crises

Manuela Caiani & Paolo Graziano
Populism is booming across all the nuances of the political spectrum. It occupies relevant positions in national parliaments, in governmental coalitions with mainstream parties or as successful challengers of the political status quo. This volume sheds new light on the topic from different methodological and theoretical angles and offers evidence from a variety of cases on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions on populism’s emergence and consolidation in Europe over the past 30 years.

Journal Article - 2021

Populism between voting and non-electoral participation

Andrea Pirro & Martín Portos
The article focuses on a neglected aspect of populist mobilisation, i.e. non-electoral participation (NEP), and elaborates on the extent to which populist party voters engage politically outside the polling station. While challenging common understandings of populism as inherently distrustful and apathetic, and protest as an exclusive practice of the left, the study critically places NEP at the heart of populism in general, and populist right politics in particular.

Monograph - 2021

Migrant Protest. Interactive Dynamics in Precarious Mobilizations

Elias Steinhilper
This book explores the interactions and spaces shaping the emergence, trajectory, and fragmentation of migrant protest in unfavorable contexts of marginalization.

Journal Article - 2020

We protect the forest beings, and the forest beings protect us: Cultural resistance in the Ecuadorian Amazonia

Leonidas Oikonomakis
The inhabitants of Sarayaku have forged an anti-colonial, anti-extractivist, and anti-capitalist resistance culture. How did that culture develop? How is it articulated? Moreover, how is kawsak sacha positioned in the discussion over the rights of Nature in Latin America? Based on three months of ethnographic research in the community of Sarayaku and more than twenty-five interviews with community members, this article addresses those important questions and argues that securing legal protection may not be a long-term resistance strategy.

Monograph - 2020

The Contentious Politics of Expertise. Experts, activism and grassroots environmentalism

Riccardo Emilio Chesta
Based on mixed-methods research and ethnographic fieldwork at various sites in Italy, this book examines the relationship between expertise and activism in grassroots environmentalism. Bridging the sociology of expertise and contentious politics, the book shows how conflict transforms, rather than inhibits, expertise production into a ‘contentious politics by other means’.

Journal Article - 2019

Alliance building and eventful protests: comparing Spanish and Portuguese trajectories under the Great Recession

Martín Portos & Tiago Carvalho
Social movement research has shed light on the relationship between processes of alliance building and multiple factors related to political opportunities, framing, identities, networks and resource mobilization. However, less is known about the impact of eventful protests on coalition building dynamics.

Monograph - 2019

Social Mobilization beyond Ethnicity. Civic Activism and Grassroots Movements in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Chiara Milan
This book offers an in-depth investigation of the emergence and spread of social mobilizations that transcend ethnicity in societies violently divided along ethno-national lines. Using Bosnia Herzegovina as a case study, the book explores episodes of mobilization which have superseded ethno-nationalist cleavages.

Journal Article - 2019

Close ever, distant never? Integrating protest event and social network approaches into the transformation of the Hungarian far right

Andrea Pirro, Elena Pavan, Adam Fagan & David Gazsi
In this article, we extend our understanding of fringe politics to include relational and thematic elements, namely, the relationship of far-right collective actors with their broader network and the claims made within it. By focusing on often neglected relational and thematic aspects, the study provides new ways to analyse fringe collective actors, the relationship with their environment and the evolution of such a relationship over time.

Journal Article - 2019

From the Rainy Place to the Burnt Palace: How Social Movements Form their Political Strategies. The Case of the Six Federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba

Leonidas Oikonomakis
Exploring the case of the cocaleros of the Chapare, this article argues that more emphasis should be placed on mechanisms that are internal to the movements, such as: (a) the resonance of other political experiences at home and abroad, (b) internal struggles for ideological hegemony, and (c) the political formation of their grassroots.

Monograph - 2019

Resistere alla crisi. I percorsi dell'azione sociale diretta

Lorenzo Bosi, Lorenzo Zamponi
Uno studio in profondità su solidarietà, mutualismo e organizzazione dal basso nell'Italia della crisi.