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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Publications

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Mobilizing for Democracy: A research project

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Donatella della Porta

The project addresses the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in democratization processes, bridging social science approaches to social movements and democracy. The project starts by revisiting the 'transitology' approach to democratization and the political process approach to social movements, before moving towards more innovative approaches in both areas. From the theoretical point of view,… more

Nationalism and Transitions: Mobilizing for democracy in Yugoslavia

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Daniel P. Ritter

The Yugoslav transition(s) to democracy is perhaps the most complex of all the Eastern European cases. It can be argued that Yugoslavia enjoyed the most favorable initial conditions of any country in the region: the regime was relatively liberal, there was an indigenous, vibrant civil society, an economic crisis had put politicians on the defensive,… more

No Way Back: Actors, structures and mobilization opportunities in the 2011-2013 Syrian uprising

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Teije Hidde Donker

The following report provides an in-depth, empirically focused, overview of contentious mobilization dynamics before and during the Syrian Uprising. The report describes the period between the beginning of Bashar al-Assad’s rule in 2000 until the end of 2012. Instead of an extensive chronological overview, the report is structured along a thematic “periodization”. It therefore focuses… more

Reluctant Rulers and the Negotiated Transition: Mobilizing for democracy in Hungary

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Daniel P. Ritter

Among the Eastern European democratization processes of the 1989 period, Hungary stands out as the least dramatic transition in the region. Whereas other countries experienced massive demonstrations in favor of democratic demands, or violent upheavals resulting in the execution of dictators, Hungary experienced neither and has been referred to as an 'uncomplicated' case. While some… more

The Elite Coup: The transition to democracy in Bulgaria

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Federico Matías Rossi

The transition to democracy in Bulgaria is commonly defined as a coup d'état carried out by the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) elites against the long-standing dictator Todor Zhivkov. The Bulgarian transition to democracy was a direct by-product of the economic and political collapse of the USSR. No contentious events had any important impact on the… more

The Unintended Consequence of the Struggle for Independence: The transition to democracy in the Baltic Countries

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Federico Matías Rossi

The Baltic countries' struggle was for independence more than any other thing. The achievement of democracy was a by-product of the secessionist project of increasing autonomy from Moscow. A possible explanation for this could be that representative democracy became an implicit and obvious ideal regime for the elites and local populations. As for the successes… more

Tunisia: Surprise, change and continuity. Relating actors, structures and mobilization opportunities around the 14 January 2011 revolution

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Teije Hidde Donker

The following report provides an in-depth and empirically focused overview of collective mobilization before, during and after the breakdown of the Tunisian authoritarian regime in 2010-11. It focuses on the relation between changing (political) contexts and dynamics within Tunisian collective mobilization concerning the peaceful character of the protests, the use of modern media tools, the… more

Whose Democratization? Periods of transition and voices from below in Turkey

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Kivanc Atak

Turkey's experience with democracy, at least in its procedural terms, is one which has been discontinuous thanks to repeated military interruptions to civilian rule. Since 1946, Turkey has experienced coups on an almost periodic basis, in the name of protecting the Kemalist foundations of the regime from counter-hegemonic currents however defined. These recurrent takeovers by… 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

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).

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.

Journal Article - 2022

Casting a new light on the democratic spectator

Andrea Felicetti
Scholarship in relation to democratic theory tends to see spectatorship as a state in which citizens are politically uninterested, isolated, and passive. In this article, the author shows that positive spectatorship occurs when citizens show an interest in one or more political problems and, together with others, strive to understand them better.

Journal Article - 2022

Far right: The significance of an umbrella concept

Andrea Pirro
This contribution makes the case for a shift in boundaries between the (populist) radical right and the extreme right, arguing for the systematic use of the term ‘far right’.

Journal Article - 2022

Performing (during) the Coronavirus crisis: The Italian populist radical right between national opposition and subnational government

Andrea Pirro
The first year of COVID-19 confirmed the standing of the populist radical right in Italy. While sitting in opposition at the national level, Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy and Matteo Salvini's League shared common criticism of the Conte II government but experienced diverging trajectories in terms of popularity. These changes can be partly attributed to the different agency of their leaderships. Overall and collectively considered, the Italian populist radical right broke even during the first year of COVID-19, but the crisis exposed the first cracks in Salvini's leadership.

Monograph - 2022

Contentious Politics in Emergency Critical Junctures

Donatella della Porta
Based on existing research on the first phases of the pandemic Covid-19, this Element addresses the ways in with the health emergency had an impact on the repertoire of action, the organizational networks and the collective framing of progressive social movements that adapted to the pandemic conditions and the related crises, but also tried to transform them.

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.