The Centre on Social Movement Studies




The Cultural Side of Populism: Politics, Emotions, Music and Subcultures in Populist Times

Special Issue - 2020

Author: Manuela Caiani & Enrico Padoan

This special issue addresses different cultural and symbolic elements of politics and populism, including music, emotions, narratives, discourses and frames, and visual symbols repertoires from popular culture, bringing together contributions that explore their empirical manifestations in several European countries and beyond. Each contribution is a stand-alone article in which the author has selected one or… more

Uneven ground: the asymmetric competition between anti-refugee and solidarity movements in Italy

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Lorenzo Zamponi, Pietro Castelli Gattinara

This article analyses how contrasting movements compete over the issue of migration in Italy and points out a significant role of the state in shaping this competition. While the socalled «refugee crisis» paved the way to multiple forms of action in support and against the arrival of migrants and asylum seekers, traditional social movement approaches… more

We protect the forest beings, and the forest beings protect us: Cultural resistance in the Ecuadorian Amazonia

Journal Article - 2020

Author: Leonidas Oikonomakis

Sarayaku is an Amazonian Kichwa community on the shores of Rio Bobonaza, Ecuador. Ten years ago, Sarayaku hit international headlines because it managed to expel the Argentinean CGC oil company from its territory, and it won a court case against the state of Ecuador that had given oil concessions to a private company without consulting… more

Alliance building and eventful protests: comparing Spanish and Portuguese trajectories under the Great Recession

Journal Article - 2019

Author: Martín Portos & Tiago Carvalho

Social movement research has shed light on the relationship between processes of alliance building and multiple factors related to political opportunities, framing, identities, networks and resource mobilization. However, less is known about the impact of eventful protests on coalition building dynamics. Drawing on a paired comparison between the Portuguese and Spanish cycles of protest under… more

Another Brick in the Wall? Young people, Protest and Nonprotest Claims Making in Nine European Countries

Journal Article - 2019

Author: Tiago Loukakis and Martín Portos

The implementation of austerity and neoliberal policies has disrupted everyday life for a significant number of Europeans, especially among young people. Rising tuition fees, labor market reforms, levels of unemployment, precarious working conditions, and discontent toward the political status quo have contributed to increase moral panics and outrage, which have often triggered mass protests. This… more

Ballots and barricades enhanced: far‐right ‘movement parties’ and movement‐electoral interactions

Journal Article - 2019

Author: Andrea Pirro

Far‐right organisations offer an ideal common ground to bridge the scholarships on social movements and party politics. Indeed, they can be often interpreted as ‘movement parties’, i.e. hybrid collective actors spurring from the protest arena and translating social movement practices in the arena of party competition. This contribution enhances our understanding of the contemporary far… more

Close ever, distant never? Integrating protest event and social network approaches into the transformation of the Hungarian far right

Journal Article - 2019

Author: Andrea Pirro, Elena Pavan, Adam Fagan & David Gazsi

In this article, we extend our understanding of fringe politics to include relational and thematic elements, namely, the relationship of far-right collective actors with their broader network and the claims made within it. Locating our analysis at the intersection of protest event and social network analysis, we focus on the far-right Movement for a Better… more
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Contentious subjects: Spatial and relational perspectives on refugee mobilizations in Europe

Chapter in edited book - 2019

Author: Elias Steinhilper and Ilker Ataç

Political protest by ‘refugees’ has proliferated worldwide, yet has only received marginal attention in social movement studies. According to dominant movement theories, migrants are unlikely subjects of mobilization due to legal obstacles (including ‘deportability’), limited economic and social capital and closed political and discursive opportunities. Building upon recent innovations in contentious politics, which stress the… more

Crook!: The impact of perceived corruption on non-electoral forms of political behaviour

Journal Article - 2019

Author: Raffaele Bazurli & Martín Portos

Anti-corruption claims have been at the core of many mass mobilizations worldwide. However, the nexus between corruption and collective action is often overlooked. Bridging social movement and corruption studies, this article contends that believing in extensive corruption has a positive impact on non-electoral forms of participation. But this effect is uneven across the population and… more

Digital movement parties: a comparative analysis of the technopolitical cultures and the participation platforms of the Movimento 5 Stelle and the Piratenpartei

Journal Article - 2019

Author: Marco Deseriis

The Pirate Party of Germany (PPG) and the Italian 5-Star Movement (5SM) are two digital movement parties that share several ideological features, including their roots in anti-establishment movements, their refusal to position themselves on the Left-Right spectrum, and their belief that the Internet increases the capacity of ordinary citizens for self-government and self-representation. To this… more



An open letter on freedom of expression and protest on Palestine by the European social movement studies community

As social movement scholars we express strong concerns about the growing trend to restrict the right of expression, critique, and protest in several countries in Europe. Signed by research centres, journals and standing groups.


CFP: Feminism as a method - Feminist Epistemologies, Methodologies and Methods in Social Sciences

International Conference 14-15 November 2024 Anastasia Barone, Giada Bonu Rosenkranz and Donatella della Porta (Scuola Normale Superiore)


CFP: Analyzing protest in the digital age. Challenges and opportunities in combining text and video sources

Organizers Donatella della Porta, Scuola Normale Superiore Swen Hutter, Freie Universität Berlin & WZB Berlin Social Science Center Place and date WZB Berlin Social Science Center, December 7-8, 2023


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.


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.

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.

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.