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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Publications

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

Journal Article - 2022

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

Populists in power and conspiracy theories

Journal Article - 2022

Author: Andrea Pirro & Paul Taggart

The populist use of tropes such as conspiracy theories plays an increasingly important role in their politics. Populism and conspiracy theories present a number of common traits – Manichaeanism, a sense of victimhood, and an ambivalence towards representative politics – and populists’ use of conspiracy theories is politically purposeful. Targeting a conspiring elite serves to… more

The mobilization for spatial justice in divided societies. Urban commons, trust reconstruction and socialist memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Journal Article - 2022

Author: Chiara Milan

The article contributes to the urban studies literature and the study of social movements in divided societies by disclosing the distinctive features and mobilizing potential that the notion of urban commons retains in a war-torn society with a socialist legacy. Specifically, it investigates how urban space and urban commons are reclaimed in a post-conflict and… more

The Three Faces of Populism in Power: Policy, Policies and Politics

Journal Article - 2022

Author: Manuela Caiani & Paolo Graziano

The article explores the consequences of the increasing presence of both left- and right-wing populist parties in government, critically reflecting on the recent scholarship on the topic, underlining promising venues for future research and outlining a conceptual framework which constitutes the background of this special issue entitled ‘Populism in Power and its Consequences’. Our main… more

Anti-nationalist Europeans and pro-European nativists on the streets: visions of Europe from the left to the far right

Journal Article - 2021

Author: Manuela Caiani & Manès Weisskircher

For many left-wing and liberal social movement activists, support for ‘Europe’ and opposition to a ‘nationalist’ turn has become a key motivation for their activism. Paradoxically, however, their opponents at the other end of the political spectrum, far-right activists, also positively identify as European. This article analyses one of the key developments in the contemporary… more

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

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

News

10/01/2022

SNS announces 14 fully-funded PhD positions

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The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy is pleased to announce 14 PhD fellowships beginning on November 1, 2022.

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.

Publications

Journal Article - 2022

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.

Journal Article - 2022

Populists in power and conspiracy theories

Andrea Pirro & Paul Taggart
Looking at three cases of populists in government – Orbán in Hungary, Trump in the United States, and Chávez in Venezuela – we examine the definition of conspiring elites (who), the circumstances under which conspiracy theories are propagated (when), and the ultimate purpose of conspiratorial framing (why).

Journal Article - 2022

The Three Faces of Populism in Power: Policy, Policies and Politics

Manuela Caiani & Paolo Graziano
The article explores the consequences of the increasing presence of both left- and right-wing populist parties in government, critically reflecting on the recent scholarship on the topic, underlining promising venues for future research and outlining a conceptual framework which constitutes the background of this special issue entitled ‘Populism in Power and its Consequences’.

Monograph - 2022

Resisting the Backlash: Street Protest in Italy

Donatella della Porta, Niccolò Bertuzzi, Daniela Chironi, Chiara Milan, Martín Portos & Lorenzo Zamponi
Drawing interview material, together with extensive data from the authors’ original social movement database, this book examines the development of social movements in resistance to perceived political "regression" and a growing right-wing backlash.

Journal Article - 2022

The mobilization for spatial justice in divided societies. Urban commons, trust reconstruction and socialist memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Chiara Milan
The article contributes to the urban studies literature and the study of social movements in divided societies by disclosing the distinctive features and mobilizing potential that the notion of urban commons retains in a war-torn society with a socialist legacy.

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.