The Centre on Social Movement Studies

The project investigates how mass media, institutional actors and citizens shape communication and participation under Covid-19 emergency.
The project TraPoCo “Transnational Political Contention in Europe” contributes to the advancement of research on mobilisation and contestation practices (protests, legal activism, strikes, advocacy) of actors such as social movements, activists, civil society organisations, trade unions, etc. in transnational political arenas on issues related to European integration.
Neo-authoritarianisms in Europe and the liberal democratic response (AUTHLIB) is a multidisciplinary project that aims to explore the varieties of neo-authoritarian, illiberal ideologies in Europe, their social, psychological and historical causes, their organisational background and their political implications.
"GOLDSTEIN – Debunking Political Uses of Denialisms and Conspiracy Theories in EU" addresses the political uses of new denialisms and conspiracy theories have played a crucial role in the European Union through an unitarian conceptual and analytical framework that can offer a more comprehensive critical explanation of these phenomena.
"Inequalities: Social sustainability and gender inequalities: culture, politics and economy" explores with a mixed method approach gender inequalities (their perception and definition by the participants) in three different but interrelated fields (cultural, political and economic), rarely taken into consideration simultaneously by scientific research: in particular in academia, business companies and political participation & mobilization.
FIERCE aims at providing sound theoretical and practical knowledge and tools to revitalize alliances between the feminist movement, civil society and political decision makers in a context of growing social inequalities, political disaffection and strengthening of populist radical right anti-gender actors and discourses.
ECS_Euro Project takes up the question of how new approaches can be identified at the local scale vis-à-vis the longstanding challenges for Europe to establish cross-border social cohesion and cooperation in particular regarding the social fields of migrant rights, housing and care work.
The project analyses political conflicts over climate change at local, national and transnational levels, looking at both institutional actors and civil society actors.
ReFuture investigates the comeback of the need for political planning and its role in revitalising democratic governance. After decades in which politics was mainly interpreted as day-to-day administration, an era of impending emergencies requires to build new capacities: thinking about possible futures is key to maintaining democracy’s ability to act and plan vis-à-vis epochal challenges like climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic. The decline in the planning capacity that has characterised Western democracies since the end of the 20th century appears to be replaced by a resurgence of the need for political planning, in many forms, including institutional responses in the form of the Next Generation EU (NGEU) programme and increasing focus of grassroots civil society actors both on proposing alternatives to institutions and the public, and on practicing such alternatives in prefigurative experiences.
The TRANSFORM project will investigate how civil society actors drive change towards transformative environmental governance. Current scholarship claims that such a change is a crucial element to improve our responses to climate change, biodiversity loss and the host of daunting challenges these pose. This viewpoint is shared by key actors in global environmental governance as well as civil society actors (CSAs), and all converge in underlining the need to shift away from the existing system of environmental governance rooted in understandings of the ‘environment’ as a set of resources. While emerging work on transformative environmental governance focuses on the fundamental elements that will characterise this governance model, there is less detail available about how such a transformation will come about. Although CSAs are seen as key drivers of transformative change, questions about how their actions will drive change remain.

Cosmos events

05/06/2023 - 16/06/2023

2023 ECPR-COSMOS Summer School on Methods for the Study of Political Participation and Mobilisation

Summer School

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence


Russian Military Culture, Civil-Military Relations, and Defense Reform in Putin’s Period: Searching for an Equilibrium, Kirill Shamiev, Central European University


15:00-16:30, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore, Palazzo Strozzi (5th Floor), Piazza degli Strozzi, Firenze


Reframing Immigrant Resistance in Italy and Morocco: Studying social movements through an intersectional and decolonial perspective, Teresa Cappiali, Lund University


11:30-13:00, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore, Palazzo Strozzi (5th Floor), Piazza degli Strozzi, Firenze

30/11/2022 - 02/12/2022

Call for Papers: SWANA from Below: living, enduring, and remembering its revolutions

COSMOS Conference

Scuola Normale Superiore, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence


The long fight for Iranian women's self-determination: a generational and sociological perspective, Rassa Ghaffari, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca


14:00-15:30, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore, Palazzo Strozzi (5th Floor), Piazza degli Strozzi, Firenze


Journal Article - 2023

Resisting right-wing populism in power: a comparative analysis of the Facebook activities of social movements in Italy and the UK

Niccolò Pennucci
This paper aims to present a comparative study of the civil society reaction to right-wing populism in power through social media, by looking at cases in Italy and the United Kingdom.

Journal Article - 2023

Emotions in Action: the Role of Emotions in Refugee Solidarity Activism

Chiara Milan
This article investigates the different types of emotions that result from participation in refugee solidarity activism, investigating how they change over time and to what extent they explain why individuals remain involved in action in spite of unfavorable circumstances.

Journal Article - 2023

‘Love is over, this is going to be Turkey!’: cathartic resonance between the June 2013 protests in Turkey and Brazil

Batuhan Eren
This study addresses the question of why and how a protest can inspire individuals in distant countries. Taking the June 2013 protests in Turkey and Brazil as cases, it investigates the reasons why the Turkish protests were framed as one of the inspirational benchmarks by some Brazilian protesters.

Journal Article - 2023

Mutual aid and solidarity politics in times of emergency: direct social action and temporality in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lorenzo Zamponi
From the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures introduced created a series of social problems and needs that were partially addressed in Italy as well as in other countries by grassroots mutual aid initiatives. While many of these initiatives were strongly rooted in the Italian social movement and civil society landscape and the choice to engage in mutual aid activities was the result of long years of reflection and planning, the article shows how strongly the temporality of emergency affected the nature of these initiatives, their development and their outcomes, in particular with regard to the extraordinary number of people who volunteered and their relationship with politicisation processes.

Monograph - 2023

Populism and (Pop) Music

Manuela Caiani, Enrico Padoan
The book provides a detailed account of the links between production of popular culture to the rise of populism and contributes to studies on populism and popular culture in Italy, using a comparative approach and a cultural sociology perspective

Monograph - 2022

Labour conflicts in the digital age

Donatella della Porta, Riccardo Emilio Chesta, Lorenzo Cini
From Deliveroo to Amazon, digital platforms have drastically transformed the way we work. But how are these transformations being received and challenged by workers? This book provides a radical interpretation of the changing nature of worker movements in the digital age, developing an invaluable approach that combines social movement studies and industrial relations. Using case studies taken from Europe and North America, it offers a comparative perspective on the mobilizing trajectories of different platform workers and their distinct organizational forms and action repertoires.

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 - 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.



Le basi istituzionali di un panico morale


Attraverso una lunga rassegna di casi concreti, Donatella Della Porta, direttrice di Cosmos, descrive il processo per cui la lotta istituzionale all'antisemitismo in Germania, inizialmente promossa dalla società civile progressista, si è trasformata nella costruzione di un apparato statale e di una struttura di potere ufficiale come strumento di razzializzazione [...]


The Far-right and conspiraciy theories from Covid to the European elections


Donatella Della Porta, Cosmos Lab director, has researched on “Regressive movements in time of emergency” using the case of protests against anti contagion measures. In this case as in many others (from the conservative “anti gender”  European farmers) protesters pictured themselves as an abused minority of powerless victims fighting against [...]


Social movements, Coronavirus and the right to healthcare


The 2020 pandemic has brought renewed focus on public healthcare and many mobilizations both on healthcare systems and vaccine patents. What are the peculiarities of right to healthcare movements? A talk with Cosmos Lab member Stella Christou


Far right movements and the European elections


Intersections and differences among far right politica Europan parties and movments, transatlantic exchanges, the role of mobilizations at the grassroots level. An interview with political scientist Andrea Pirro

The Centre on Social Movement Studies (Cosmos) is a network located in the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence.

It focuses on social movements as part of broader contentious politics. It promotes theoretically-driven empirical analyses on forms, dimensions, causes and impacts of social movements, in established democracies as well as authoritarian regimes. Particular attention is given to social movements as promoters of democratization processes.