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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Publications

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Between real and virtual: strategies of mobilisation of the radical right in Eastern Europe

Journal Article - 2021

Author: Manuela Caiani

In this article, we explore radical right mobilisation beyond the electoral arena, looking at its characteristics and forms, as well as intensity and related factors (such as the preferred targets and issues). Within a comparative study of four country cases in Central and Eastern Europe the analysis is carried out by drawing on two novel… more

Candidate Selection, Personalization and Different Logics of Centralization in New Southern European Populism: The Cases of Podemos and the M5S

Journal Article - 2021

Author: Manuela Caiani & Enrico Padoan & Bruno Marino

Journal Government and Opposition (OnLineFirst) Abstract In this article, we focus on the candidate selection processes of Podemos in Spain and the Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S – Five Star Movement) in Italy, processes which are related to intra-party democracy. With a mixed-methods approach (including novel data from the expert survey PoPES, 31 semi-structured interviews with… more

European populism before the pandemic: ideology, Euroscepticism, electoral performance, and government participation of 63 parties in 30 countries

Journal Article - 2021

Author: Paul Taggart & Andrea Pirro

This contribution is conceived as a resource on the state of European populist parties before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It reports on cross-national comparative findings generated by data collected from 30 European countries as to the state of populist parties in one calendar year (2019) and provides an extensive qualitative overview of the… more

Far-right protest mobilisation in Europe: Grievances, opportunities and resources

Journal Article - 2021

Author: Pietro Castelli Gattinara, Caterina Froio & Andrea Pirro

What explains far-right mobilisation in the protest arena? After decades of growing electoral support and policy influence, the far right is experiencing an increase in grassroots mobilisation. Scholars of social movements and political parties have devoted little attention to the determinants of far-right protest mobilisation in Europe. In this article, we bridge previous research on… more

Forging, bending, and breaking: Enacting the “illiberal playbook” in Hungary and Poland

Journal Article - 2021

Author: Andrea Pirro & Ben Stanley

In recent years, Central and Eastern Europe have furnished several examples of illiberalism in power. The most prominent and consequential cases are Fidesz, which has ruled in Hungary since 2010, and Law and Justice (PiS), which has ruled in Poland since 2015. In both cases, illiberal governments have embarked upon an extensive project of political… more

Learning from Democratic Practices: New Perspectives in Institutional Design

Journal Article - 2021

Author: Andrea Felicetti

Contemporary democracies feature an increasingly diverse and complex variety of democratic practices. The systematic observation of these practices offers a valuable yet neglected source of insight for current debates on democratic systems and for institutional design. Taking democratic practices as the starting point for theorization counters the tendency to think that democracy has some sort… more

Online Hate Speech and the Radical Right in Times of Pandemic: The Italian and English Cases

Journal Article - 2021

Author: Manuela Caiani & Benedetta Carlotti & Enrico Padoan

Social media is considered a particularly conducive arena for hate speech, a form of communication often linked to the radical right. The goal of this study is to offer an empirical contribution that comparatively explores the presence and features of hate speech in the social media discourse of the radical right (leaders and parties) in… more

Populism between voting and non-electoral participation

Journal Article - 2021

Author: 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. The study addresses the question that populist parties and movements of the left and right originate from distinctive political experiences, and drive different forms of… more

The use of religion by populist parties: the case of Italy and its broader implications

Journal Article - 2021

Author: Manuela Caiani & Tiago Carvalho

The rise of populist parties in Europe and the increasing salience of religion in political discourse are two relevant, sometimes discussed as interrelated, phenomena of recent decades. While most analysis focuses on right-wing populism, this does not exhaust all possible relationships. This study addresses the role of religion in populist parties by focusing on the… more

Chicha-Coronavirus: 1-0. On trust, natural disasters, and pandemics in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Leonidas Oikonomakis

Sarayaku is an Amazonian Kichwa community on the shores of Río Bobonaza, Ecuador. There is no road connecting it to the rest of the country no electricity and no telephone network. I happened to be there on fieldwork during the times of a double disaster: the COVID19 crisis, and the biggest flood in the community’s… more

News

16/07/2021

Prof. della Porta to lead VolkswagenStiftung-funded ECSEuro project

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Reflecting the European challenge of transnational cooperation and multiple crises, this project asks how local political initiatives across Europe enact citizenship and solidarity and contribute to the vision of a more democratic Europe from below.

09/07/2021

SNS announces 7 fully-funded PhD positions

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The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore announces 7 fully-funded PhD positions. Deadline for applications: 21 August 2021.

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.

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

Forging, bending, and breaking: Enacting the “illiberal playbook” in Hungary and Poland

Andrea Pirro & Ben Stanley
We first argue that illiberal changes are ideologically founded and identify how both populism and nativism figure in the policymaking of illiberals in power. We then show how these practices emerge from a common “illiberal playbook”—a paradigm of policy change comprising forms of forging, bending, and breaking—and elaborate on the notion that illiberal governments are using legalism to kill liberalism.

Edited Volume - 2021

Contentious Migrant Solidarity. Shrinking Spaces and Civil Society Contestation

Donatella della Porta & Elias Steinhilper
Building upon social movement and migration studies, this book maps the two sides of ‘contentious solidarity’: a shrinking civic space and its contestation by civil society.

Journal Article - 2021

Learning from Democratic Practices: New Perspectives in Institutional Design

Andrea Felicetti
Drawing from literature on democratic practices in social movements and democratic innovations, the article illustrates three ways to advance institutional design in the wake of the systemic turn.

Journal Article - 2021

Far-right protest mobilisation in Europe: Grievances, opportunities and resources

Pietro Castelli Gattinara, Caterina Froio & Andrea Pirro
In this article, we bridge previous research on the far right and social movements to advance hypotheses on the drivers of far-right protest mobilisation based on grievances, opportunities and resource mobilisation models. We use an original dataset combining novel data on 4,845 far-right protest events in 11 East and West European countries (2008–2018), with existing measures accounting for the (political, economic and cultural) context of mobilisation.

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.