The Centre on Social Movement Studies


Les town meetings, mythe fondateur de la démocratie américaine

Paula Cossart; Andrea Felicetti; James Kloppenberg

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2016

L’analyse historique a marqué la naissance et le développement des réflexions sur la démocratie participative et délibérative1. Outre le travail fondateur de Jürgen Habermas (1978) d’analyse de la transformation de la sphère publique bourgeoise, plusieurs contributions importantes à l’étude de la démocratie délibérative s’appuient en effet sur la recherche historique. Parmi les plus célèbres, on songe aux travaux de Bruce Ackerman (1991, 2000) sur la Constitution américaine ou de Bernard Manin sur le gouvernement représentatif en France, en Angleterre et aux États-Unis (1995). La dimension historique de phénomènes plus récents a, elle aussi, été mise en avant. Par exemple, les développements théoriques influents de Gutmann et Thompson sur la démocratie délibérative (2009) sont, dans une large mesure, fondés sur une analyse en profondeur du processus de démocratisation de l’Afrique du Sud. Enfin, l’investigation historique a également favorisé l’émergence de deux tendances caractéristiques de la recherche sur la démocratie contemporaine : l’expansion du concept de délibération, et l’adoption des théories de la délibération parun nombre croissant de champs de la science politique et de la sociologie (par exemple : Poletta, 2002). Mais la dimension historique demeure loin d’être centrale dans les études sur la démocratie participative ou délibérative, même si l’on compte des exceptions notables (notamment : Bacqué, Sintomer, 2011 ; Della Porta, 2014 ; Cossart, 2010 ; Cossart, Talpin, 2015 ; Gustafson, 2011 ; Chambers, 2000) et bien que des travaux récents sur la participation aient souligné la nécessité d’approfondir l’étude du passé (Cossart, Talpin, Keith, 2012 ; Font, Della Porta, Sintomer, 2012). Ce numéro, dans le prolongement du numéro 2012-2 de la revue dont le dossier La participation au prisme de l’histoire était coordonné par Paula Cossart, Julien Talpin et William Keith, vise notamment à montrer l’apport de l’analyse historique aux débats qui animent aujourd’hui les recherches sur la démocratie, en particulier quant à la façon dont la participation et la délibération émergent et se développent dans des contextes différents2. Le présent numéro est consacré à diverses observations des modes de participation dans les célèbres town meetings américains, nés en Nouvelle-Angleterre.

Paula Cossart, Andrea Felicetti, James Kloppenberg (2016) Les town meetings, mythe fondateur de la démocratie américaine. Participation, 2016/2(15): 6-47




15 fully funded PhD positions

The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy is pleased to announce 15 PhD fellowships beginning on November 1, 2023. The deadline for applications is April 13, 2023.


Applications now open! Fourth Edition of the ECPR-COSMOS Summer School on Methods for the Study of Political Participation and Mobilisation

Applicants must send their application materials no later than March the 17th 2023.


SNS announces 14 fully-funded PhD positions

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.


Prof. della Porta to lead VolkswagenStiftung-funded ECSEuro project

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.


SNS announces 7 fully-funded PhD positions

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


Four post-doctoral research positions on the pandemic

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.” 


Journal Article - 2023

Reflective Inclusion: Learning from Activists What Taking a Deliberative Stance Means.

Andrea Felicetti, Markus Holdo
We propose to adopt a principle we call “reflective inclusion,” which allows us to engage abductively with new actions that might expand and deepen our understanding of what deliberation may look like.

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

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 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

(Water) Bottles and (Street) Barricades: The Politicisation of Lifestyle-Centred Action in Youth Climate Strike Participation

Lorenzo Zamponi, Anja Corinne Baukloh, Niccolò Bertuzzi, Daniela Chironi, Donatella della Porta, Martín Portos
This article explores the forms of action adopted by participants in two Fridays For Future (FFF) strikes, focusing on the repertoires of action of (young) climate justice protesters. Drawing on protest survey data, it shows demonstrated that young protesters do not participate less in claim-based action than older cohorts. Furthermore, a process of politicisation can be seen to be unfolding that leads to increased commitment in both lifestyle and political forms of participation – at least among active milieus.

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.

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.

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.

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.