The Centre on Social Movement Studies




Scales and forms of action in the partial demobilisation of the Italian Forum of Water Movements

Working Paper - 2016

Author: Matteo Cernison

On the 12th and 13th June 2011, about 26 million citizens blocked in Italy a major attempt to privatise the water and sewage networks of the country, approving two referendums that cancelled the main legal tools that were facilitating the access of private actors to the water services. In the years that followed the referendum… more

The No Ombrina/No Triv protests in Abruzzo: organisational models and scales of action.

Working Paper - 2016

Author: Matteo Cernison

This article discusses in detail the evolution of the complex no oil mobilisation in Abruzzo, observing the mechanisms that allowed the inclusion of a long lasting regional protest in a series of initiatives of national relevance. I describe the emergence of the no oil milieu in the region, observing its development under the lens of… more

Common EU policies on authorised immigration : past, present and future

Working Paper - 2015

Author: Georgia Mavrodi

Since the early 1990s, one metaphor has dominated the debates on the construction of a common EU immigration policy: ‘Fortress Europe’. The gradual adoption of a set of common rules on the entry, residence and rights of non-EU nationals was depicted as the building of a wall along the external borders of the EU to… 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

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

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

Libya's Violent Revolution

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Emin Poljarevic

Libya is unlike other states in North Africa mainly because of the distinctive arrangement of different socio-economic and political features it combines. This arrangement came into sharper focus in the wake of the recent collapse of its 40-year-old authoritarian regime. What had begun as a series of peaceful protests against the regime's administrative misconducts became… more

Mass Migration, Student Protests and the Intelligentsia Popullore in the Albanian Transition to Democracy

Working Paper - 2012

Author: Luisa Chiodi

After decades under a Stalinist regime, the latecomer transition in Albania began thanks to the large-scale exodus of hundreds of young people which stimulated the mobilization of university students. In turn, the student movement became the catalyst of a wider social mobilization once fear faded away from December 1990 onwards. These experiences were nevertheless short-lived… 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.