SISP2024
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SISP Conference 2024

SISP2024 Sections and Panels

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Section 5 - Participation, Social Movements, Interests

Managers: Massimiliano Andretta, Alberto Bitonti, Giuliana Sorci

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The section welcomes and invites panel proposals about the transformations that have affected social movements, grassroots political participation, interest groups politics, lobbying and advocacy in recent years.
With the advent of emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine and Palestine, a crisis of conventional forms of political participation and representative democracy has been spreading, together with a general growth of grassroots political participation. New waves of mobilizations against the politics of containment of the pandemic did spread both in Europe and beyond, transforming the global squares into protest arenas for social movements. These mobilizations featured both the emergence and re-emergence of various kinds of old and new collective actors: with a new protagonism by anti-gender and anti-progressive movements – like those being present in some Eastern European countries (Poland and Hungary), who support the limitations to abortion rights and women reproductive rights (greatly weakening their self-determination) and of the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, that becomes a target of discriminatory politics by nationalist and reactionary governments. Movements against Covid certification and vaccines have thrived upon the transversal participation of right- and left-wing social movements, and of parties and movements of clearly populist character. Environmental justice movements poured into the global squares against climate change, sparking policy battles between different types of interest groups; the trans-feminist movements organized mobilizations against gender violence suffered by women on a transnational scale, and various labour conflicts kept surfacing in the political agenda at different levels.
New mobilizations and transformations of forms of collective action within new repertoires, identities, and solidarities emerged – also linked to digital media and social networking platforms, allowing movements and interest groups to organize and spread their claims. At the same time, there are also forms of polarization from below (e.g., about vaccines, hate speech, conspiracy theories, fake news, and disinformation). Resort to social networking platforms by activists and citizens also resulted in the dissemination of conspiracy theories and fake news about the causes of the origin of the pandemic, the production of vaccines, and the war in Ukraine and Palestine becoming viral on social networks. While policymakers often react with “emergency measures” to crises, social movements refuse the emergency narrative proposed by power holders, recalling the structural nature of such crises, and trying to overturn the perception of the irreversibility of the events. Thus, while social movements defend rights that are perceived as at risk, they also suggest other possible solutions and narratives, building networks based on mutual trust and solidarity. Current times are characterized by the effects of the Covid-19 period, the war, the spread of illiberal governments, climate change, and the socio-economic crisis. These are all circumstances that affect policy and politics, but they are also struggle fields and opportunities for progressive social movements and counter-movements, as well as for a multitude of interest groups of different kinds (corporate players, labour unions, professional associations, environmentalist organizations and public interest groups, religious groups, etc.), operating at local, national, and international levels.
The section calls for the presentation of panels covering these themes, starting from empirical research reflecting the adequacy of theoretical and methodological tools that were used until now to analyze, understand, and explain these processes. Contributes featuring a comparative analysis approach and special attention to methodology, with mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) approaches, will be well received.
This section aims to host panels discussing the relationship between social movements, interest groups, and traditional political actors (e.g., political parties), analyzing the processes involved across different stages of the policy and influence-production cycles, in mobilization (looking at the role of organization, violence, fundraising, as well as digital technologies in local, national and transnational mobilizations), lobbying and advocacy (targeting policymakers as well as the larger public opinion), political access, and outcomes in terms of influence and policy.

Panels are welcome, regarding:
• Local and transnational movements, spreading of protest
• Interest groups politics, advocacy and lobbying
• Environmental and urban mobilization
• Labour Conflicts and social movements
• New and ‘old’ movements and interest groups
• Gender-related movements, anti-gender themes and feminism
• Movements and interest groups turning into parties
• The “game” of influence in specific policy processes
• Methodological and conceptual challenges in studying movements, interest groups, collective action, and influence
• Political participation and new forms of digital activism
• Emotions and social movements
• Arts, politics and movements
• Prefigurative politics and movements
• Communication strategies of movements and interest groups
• Corporate political activities
• Lobbying regulation
 

Panel 5.1 The Transnationalization of the Radical Right


This panel aims to gather innovative research on international cooperation and coordination among radical right and regressive actors, including both political parties and movements. Illiberal paradigms and initiatives are progressively traversing international boundaries, facilitated by coordinating organizations. Responses within countries to complex issues like immigration or same-sex marriage are shaped by external illiberal political actors, while common exclusivist themes take form and spread via think tanks, NGOs, parties, and other diverse modes of networking.

We particularly welcome papers with a comparative, empirical approach to radical-right diffusion and transnationalization. The panel's goal is to facilitate both a deeper and broader understanding of the macro level factors, meso level processes and individual level perceptions and motivations, which can favor trasnationalization and diffusion of these actors and their organizations, collective identities, and tactics. We welcome thematically diverse objects of study and approaches to illiberal politics including various identities and frames such as nativism, populism, religious conservatism, Euroscepticism, anti-immigrant civilizationism, and anti-gender familism. Using a social movement approach to the radical right, we are interested in addressing the various elements of regressive movements that are diffused across borders, including collective action frames, organizational forms, repertoires of action, and movement strategies. Additionally, we welcome papers dealing with mechanisms and processes of transnationalization as well as contextual factors in terms of political and discursive opportunity structures. In this panel, we encourage:
• Empirical and theoretical papers dealing with radical-right transnationalization
• Papers adopting an agentic approach to trasnationalization of collective action, focusing on various types of actors (movements, political parties, movement-parties)
• Methodological pluralism, including, but not limited to: surveys, quantitative studies, network analyses, and qualitative methods such as interviews, focus groups, frame and discourse analyses.
• We highly encourage applicants not only from West and East-Central Europe but also Latin America, Africa, the US and Asia to apply.

Chairs: Manuela Caiani, Ivan Tranfic

A European Antipopulist Movement? The Emergence and Diffusion of Italian Sardines and Finnish Herrings
Batuhan Eren, Manuela Caiani
Abstract
The scholarship on populism is abundant, yet antipopulism remains mostly neglected, especially its mobilization from below and transnationalization. This research investigates the emergence and diffusion of antipopulist mobilizations by analyzing the Italian "6000 Sardine" (Sardines) and the Finnish "Silakkaliike" (Herrings) which emerged as two movements with antipopulist claims. Drawing on extensive fieldwork including a grounded-theory approach applied to twenty-seven interviews with activists from these two movements, plus the analysis of offline and online organizational documents, this study shows the mechanisms—cognitive, affective and relational—of their national and crossnational diffusion, relating them to the opportunities of the context. The findings demonstrate that the perceived and actual similarities between the political contexts in Italy and Finland due to the presence of populist actors in politics, the relative success of the 6000 Sardine movement in mobilizing people and challenging populist actors, and the resonance of shared values and principles between the two groups, enabled both organizers and participants of the Silakkaliike to engage in a similar movement in their context. Besides, the findings also demonstrate that by challenging both populist and polarizing discourse with an inclusive and pluralist conceptualization of the people, these value-oriented movements are distinguished from the previous progressive movements (and from populism) by their focus on politicizing and mobilizing apolitical citizens from below, through socialization in squares, social media platforms and new (entertaining) repertoires of actions with a strong emphasis on positive emotions. Exploring the internal movement dynamics and actors’ perceptions and motivations, this study contributes to the conceptualization of antipopulism from below, defining the main characteristics and the ideological underpinnings of these two antipopulist movements. The findings further provide some insight into the scholarly debates about the democratic innovations and the new conflicts in democratic contexts.
Far-right transnationalization: the example of the revolutionary movement Terza posizione
Carlo De Nuzzo
Abstract
Far-right movements and parties after 1945 in Europe cannot be fully understood without the transnational dimension (Albanese and Hierro 2014). Even though the transnational level is crucial to studying this network, the majority of the historical and political science literature focusing on far right-wing movements is still national-oriented (Fenner an Weitz 2004 ; Costa Pinto 1995 ; Mammone, Godin and Jenkins 2009 and 2012 ; Mammone 2008 and 2009 ; Moffitt 2017). The transnational aspect of a movement refers to different dimensions of it: issues, targets, mobilization, and organized networks across national borders characterized by exchanges, information flows, and ties between groups and individuals. Even when one of those takes a transnational dimension, the others may remain national. Since the 1980s, far-right parties and movements have reorganized and brought the complex network of European far-right actors (groups and organizations) to a new level of transnational integration. If 1980s marked the transition from extreme far-right terrorism to the “battle for minds” (i.e. the French New Right) and coincided with electoral and parliamentary success for the far right; the 1990s are characterised by the geopolitical transition that sees the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of bipolarism. Far-right has had to change and adapt itself to the international context; accordingly, the understanding of structural conditions cannot be separated from the cultural turns. Indeed, from 1980s transnational network of far-right parties and movements are part of a large mobilisation process by which they managed to politicise issues previously neglected by mainstream parties (e.g. immigration, minority issues, ‘law and order’, welfare chauvinism; see Ignazi 1992 ; Meguid 2005 ; Pirro 2014b). My paper will discuss this transnationalization of far-right through the example of the movement Terza posizione on three levels: macro (e.g. events analysis, the socio-political context), meso (e.g. organisational network, dynamics, choices, and strategies, meta-politicization and circulation of ideas), and micro levels (e.g. militant trajectories, individual motivations, life histories and experiences). Cult icon of the Italian extreme Right of the 70's, Terza posizione was able to conjugate the juvenile rebellion with the hierarchy, the recalls to fascism with the support to the revolutionary thrusts in every corner of the world. Terza posizione represented the culmination of a generational youth and student restlessness of the neo-fascist matrix. It introduced innovative ideas both in terms of anti-imperialist themes linked to the role of Europe as a Nation and in terms of organisation and militancy. It attracted hundreds of very young people among its ranks between 1976 and 1980 and, despite its short life, it certainly represented a moment of discontinuity and novelty compared to the extra-parliamentary experiences that had preceded it. Terza posizione advocated European geopolitical independence through a careful equidistance between the US empire and the USSR, with the slogan: “Né fronte rosso, né reazione: lotta armata per la Terza posizione!” (Neither red front, nor reaction, armed struggle for the Third position!). The leaders of Terza posizione earned their share of experience with revolutionary internationalism. Notably, in February 1981, Roberto Fiore participated, together with Gabriele Adinolfi, in the golpe 23-F or Tejero golpe in Spain (the 1981 failed coup attempt aiming at the restoration of Francoist government in Spain). After the judicial and law enforcement actions some members took refuge in France and Uk, where they founded the International Third Position, a movement with various European branches, which was to disrupt the English extreme right. The diaspora allowed the members of Terza posizione to forge lasting and productive links with the entire European neo-fascist world as such (with the likes of the French Nouvelle Droite, the German Neue Rechte, Belgian, Spanish, and Portuguese neo-fascists, Golden Dawn in Greece, etc.). Through the example of the revolutionary neo-fascist movement Terza posizione, my paper aims to explore the transnationalization of european far-right.
Marine Le Pen goes to Pontida: an ethnographic story about transnationalization, domestic competition and intraparty conflicts in Salvini's League.
Ghita Bordieri
Abstract
In September 2023, Marine Le Pen, the leader of Rassemblement National, was announced as a guest speaker at Pontida, the annual gathering of Salvini's League party. This move was part of a broader strategy of the League to connect with other radical-right parties in Europe and position themselves as the preferred ally for Le Pen in Italy, in competition with Fratelli d'Italia. The announcement was made through social media, using even a grotesque AI-made video of Salvini speaking French to signal friendship to an international audience. However, on the day of the speech, something went wrong. The atmosphere was tense, and a portion of the audience left the lawn as Le Pen began speaking, taking their flags with them and leaving the front of the stage half-empty. I will use the field notes collected during my ethnographic observation of this failed ritual event to address dynamics related to the event at different levels. On a transnational level, I will discuss the League's efforts to find European allies. At the party system level, I will focus on the competition among radical right-wing actors and the silently hostile relationship between Lega and Fratelli d'Italia. At the party level, I will examine the transformation process from regionalism to nationalism and the horizontal divisions and factions within the party. Finally, at the local party level, I will analyze the vertical intraparty conflicts and how the regional and national levels relate differently in different regions and clash over issues of nationalism and leadership. The relationships between transnational, national, and local dynamics are related not only to policies or political strategies but also to the internal dynamics of organizations. Understanding the complex multilevel nature of conflicts can help us comprehend how radical-right organizations operate.
The Other Side of the Coin: The Transnationalization of the Illiberal Left in Central and Eastern Europe
Gianmarco Bucci
Abstract
Academic literature has recently started to enquire forms of transnationalization of the illiberal right and radical right. A specific focus has been given to the region of Central and Eastern Europe, considered the relevant role played in this realm by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Poland’s former governmental party Law and Justice (PiS). The exclusive focus on the right-wing side of the political spectrum fails yet to offer a complete image of the phenomenon at the regional level, excluding a priori cases – with the partial exception of Slovakia – in which illiberal discourses and practices have been promoted by the Left. The present paper wants to offer a broader analysis of the phenomenon, focusing on the cases of Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia; it takes in consideration communist successor parties (that is the heirs of the defunct Communist Parties), and in particular the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Romania’s Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Slovakia’s Smer-SD. Speeches from the respective (current and former) party leaders – Kornelia Ninova, Liviu Dragnea and Robert Fico – are collected and analyzed through critical discourse analysis. The present paper claims that left-wing illiberalism shall be integrated in the analysis of the transnationalization of illiberal actors. A pre-emptive explanation of the parties’ positioning illustrates how left-wing illiberal parties are well integrated in the transnational network of radical right actors, while the analysis of the leaders’ speeches shows the relevance of illiberal discursive “diffusion” (della Porta and Mattoni 2014), as clearly demonstrated by the adoption and adaptation of concepts such as the fight against the “parallel State” and “gender ideology”. Furthermore, previous studies have started to enquire the role of Viktor Orbán’s conservative illiberalism as a normative ideal for such leftist leaders (Rone 2023), while empirical data show that the same is valid with regards to former US’ President Donald Trump.
 

Panel 5.2 FEMINIST AND DECOLONIAL MOVEMENTS: TRANSNATIONAL SOLIDARITIES FROM PALESTINE TO LEBANON AND ARGENTINA


This panel invites papers that look at the practices and the multiple genealogies that inform contemporary decolonial feminist politics in the world, foregrounding transnational connections between movements. In a time of unleashed state brutality, war, and neoliberal violence, this panel aims at offering historical and contextual analyses of how decolonial and feminist movements from below can foster a politics of hope and liberation.
While decoloniality as a codified approach to knowledge has reached popularity recently, we are aware that decolonial epistemologies have a longer history, although overlooked by academics. The encounter between decoloniality and feminism has roots in the anti-colonial struggles that have taken place in the Global South for centuries. This panel recuperates these genealogies and contextualises them in the present time.
We are also aware that transnational encounters between struggles and activists have played an important role in advancing decolonial theories and practices. We do not only refer to contemporary solidarities between anti-racist movements in the Global North and South, such as BLM’s solidarity with Palestinians and Indigenous people in North America and Australia. We also refer to South-South exchanges. Examples may include the influence of pro-Palestine activism on feminist movements in South America, or the role played by events such as Festac 77 in fostering a decolonial imagination globally. More recently, the Palestinian liberation movement, the 2010 uprisings in North Africa and Syria, the Kurdish liberation struggle, and the Woman Life Freedom uprising in Iran have ignited a fundamental learning process for decolonial feminist movements, asking how do they position themselves as agents of change and revolution, how do they fight against intersecting layers of classed, raced, and gendered oppression, during and after the revolutionary process?
This panel invites contributions covering these topics, including the role of diasporas in facilitating transnational exchanges, the visions of liberation offered (i.e., the path to achieve liberation, the organisation of a liberated society), the events that have structured trasnational connections, shared practices and imaginaries of resistance, and how decolonial politics translates into political praxis across different contexts.

Chairs: Paola Rivetti

 

Panel 5.3 Interest groups, lobbying, and influence


Over the last 30 years, research on interest groups and lobbying processes has produced a burgeoning literature (Pritoni & Vicentini 2022), concerning the action of different groups along the various phases of the influence-production process (Lowery & Gray 2004), from groups mobilization to direct and indirect lobbying campaigns, from the relationship between interest groups and other players of the political system, their access to different arenas up to the actual influence in policymaking processes at various levels (local, national, supranational). Other studies focused on lobbying regulation, on the impact of technological changes on advocacy campaigns and on the management of organizations, as well as on the relationship between lobbying and corporate social responsibility, or between interest representation and democratic innovation.
Promoted by SISP Standing Group on Interest Groups & Lobbying, this panel intends to welcome papers concerning the various topics mentioned above, and is open to different methodological approaches. Our goal is to foster research on phenomena (interest groups, lobbying, and influence) that are as interesting for political studies as relevant for democracy itself.

Chairs: Alberto Bitonti, Andrea Pritoni

Access Strategies of Human Rights NGOs to Members of European Parliament (MEPs) Regarding the Human Rights Situation in Iran
Abdollah Baei Lashaki, Abdollah Baei Lashaki
Abstract
This study examines the determinants of access to MEPs regarding the human rights situation in Iran for human rights NGOs. It proposes two defining characteristics that drive the access of human rights NGOs to MEPs. First, we examine which information types provide human rights NGOs access to MEPs and then examine which tactics buy legitimate access to MEPs regarding the human rights situation in Iran. We test our anticipations based on a survey and accompanied by elite interviews from human rights NGOs that work on human rights issues. Our findings indicate that technical, timely information, and information based on MEPs needs provide more access for human rights NGOs to MEPs regarding the human rights situations in Iran. Also, our findings demonstrate that Outside tactics are more effective regarding the access of human rights NGOs to MEPs. KEY WORDS: Exchange, Information types, Inside tactics, Outside tactics, Policymaking,
Lobbyists and their reputation
Alberto Bitonti, Claudia Mariotti, Giulia Mugellini, Jean-Patrick Villeneuve
Abstract
In political studies, it is frequently acknowledged that lobbying and lobbyists suffer from a bad reputation. The same concept of lobbying is often improperly associated with corruption or influence-peddling, while more positive views portraying lobbying as a channel of democratic participation and as an opportunity to make policymaking processes better and more informed are apparently advanced only by scholars and experts, obviously including lobbyists themselves. Besides normative reflections on this issue, empirical research on the topic of the public perception of lobbying has predominantly focused on media outlets and policymakers, looking at discourses on this matter appearing for instance in newspaper articles and parliamentary speeches. When it comes to citizens’ perceptions, a similar negative stance is usually only assumed. Our aim in this paper is to empirically test this assumption, by analyzing the results of two national surveys led on the citizens of Canada and Switzerland (N=1500) on this topic. In measuring the negative or positive views of lobbying, the paper checks the variation in the attitude toward different kinds of lobbyists, shedding additional light on the role of specific sociographic variables.
Parte della conversazione? L'analisi dell'accesso parlamentare dei gruppi di interesse nella formulazione del PNRR italiano
Edoardo Amato, Maria Tullia Galanti
Abstract
Interest groups act as intermediaries between policymakers and civil society. They can contribute to the formulation of intervention measures through lobbying activities, public consultations, and participation in technical committees. However, these activities may develop differently depending not only on the resources of the groups but also on the venues in which they operate and the decision-making context within which they are activated. In this sense, the process that led to the definition of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) represents an interesting case for investigating how interest groups access policy-making in a crisis context. So far, the literature has shown different ways of intervention in the various phases of the plan's development (Bitonti et al. 2021; Pritoni et al. 2023; Germano and Lizzi 2024). This paper aims to analyze the role of interest groups in the formulation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) in Italy, focusing on their ability to access the parliamentary debate on central reforms such as those related to the education sector, active labor market policies, competition law, and the public administration reform. By mapping the organized interests involved in these policy processes, this work aims to propose a descriptive analysis of the activation, access, and therefore the role and activities carried out by interest groups. This analysis provides a snapshot of the relationships between groups and the public decision-maker in the phases of the NRRP formulation, thus allowing for a better understanding of the contribution of different actors in the achievement of the plan's objectives. Bitonti, A., Montalbano, G., Pritoni, A., & Vicentini, G. (2021). Chi detta l’agenda? Le dichiarazioni pubbliche dei gruppi di interesse sul Recovery Fund. Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche, 16(3), 460-487. Pritoni, A., Bitonti, A., & Montalbano, G. (2023). Change of government and interest groups' preference attainment on the formulation of the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP): from Conte to Draghi. Italian political science review/Rivista italiana di scienza politica, 53(3), 333-350. Germano, L., & Lizzi, R. (2024). The implementation of NRRP policies between politics and policy. An interest group perspective. Contemporary Italian Politics, 1-14.
Pension Reforms and Interest Groups
Jan Pokorný
Abstract
Changes in pension systems are important in the face of fundamental changes in the population. These pension reforms are influenced by many factors, in addition to economic conditions and social impacts, there is also the important role of individual actors in the negotiations. Some studies point to the minority role of the tripartite as an institutionalised form of social partners in the negotiation of pension reforms. Conversely, there is an emphasis on the role and position of the coalition and the opposition, which are complemented by trade unions. The aim of this study is to evaluate the current research on this issue and to establish the practice by using the example of Central European countries in comparison with Italy. The paper is based on a literature search and a comparative analysis of selected cases.
States versus Pharmas: A Political Analysis of Drug Pricing Reforms in Italy
Catherine Moury
Abstract
Over the past two decades, the escalating costs of medications have reached a point where they are now deemed 'unsustainable,' even for the wealthiest nations. This surge in prices is attributed to various factors, encompassing a lack of competition within medicinal markets, the increasing financialization of pharmaceutical companies, and the formidable influence wielded by the latter. However, prices are contingent on the presence of national and international regulations. These regulations, while involving trade-offs between access and prices, can result in substantial savings for the payer, be it the state or another entity. How do politicians interpret the trade-offs in regulating pharmaceutical prices? What prompts them to undertake reforms? What factors determine their success? Why are some regulations chosen and others not? What insights can we learn from this about pharmaceutical power and the state's capacity to pursue the common good? This paper addresses this question by examining the deviant case of Italy. Given the magnitude of the power of pharmaceutical firms, and the fact that costs associated with high prices are often diffuse, status quo is the most likely trajectory. Hence, reforms reducing pharmaceutical prices can be considered deviant cases to investigate. Italy is one of those, as in 2020, the country made history by becoming the first country to mandate pharmaceutical firms to disclose their research and development (R&D) costs, received public funding, prices charged in other countries, and profits earned. Subsequently, in 2022, a law was enacted to promote full transparency regarding transfers between the industry and health actors. In this paper, we employ grounded theory. We will triangulate diverse empirical sources, including qualitative analysis of official documents and interviews with key health actors, to ensure the validity of our findings. Our argument posits that certain variables come into play to explain the Italian case. These conditions are linked to decision-makers' political will, their adoption strategies (including a self-imposition of international constraints), and the guarantees for implementation and resilience.
STRATEGIC FORMULATION AND INTEREST GROUP INFLUENCE IN PUBLIC POLICY: UNVEILING THE CASE OF ITALY'S NRRP
Carloalberto Corica
Abstract
The NRRP is the most crucial Italian policy for the country's future. Given the importance of this policy and the need to empirically analyze the internal processes of the strategic formulation of public policies and the role of interest groups at the national level, the research aims to examine the process that led to the strategic formulation of the NRRP. So, a study of media analysis, content analysis of the Plan, and elite interviews (addressed to the main actors of the public sector involved in this phase) is proposed. It is supposed to provide a solid empirical base for the understanding of the authentic origin of the Plan and who actors have been its authors and to contribute to the research field of interest groups, lobbying, strategic public management, and the scientific documentation related to this policy. We will also try to provide an innovative vision relating to the topic of the relationship between the formulation of the Plan and the stakeholders: understanding whether there has been a significant involvement of private consultancy firms in the drafting of the Plan and, therefore, examining the potential relationships between these and the private interests of some groups, providing further observations on external influences in the decision-making process. Strategic planning is "a deliberative, disciplined effort to produce decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization or other entity is, what it does, and why it does it" (Bryson, 2011). Although the literature on strategic planning is already advanced, it seems necessary to assess the conditions and circumstances under which strategic planning is adopted (Berry, 1994,54). This means understanding and reconstructing the process prior to public policy formulation. The success of strategic planning depends not only on its simple adoption but on which approach is used, for what purposes, and in what context (Bryson et al., 2010; Ferlie & Ongaro, 2015). It can, therefore, be scientifically relevant to analyze the context and reconstruct the steps that led to formulating a public policy, especially for those policies of such an important entity as the NRRP for Italy. It can, therefore, be hypothesized that public organizations' relations with interest groups can be considered a not-so-marginal part of the strategic planning process in the public sector. Furthermore, the literature highlights the need to increase attention from the academic world to transform lobbying into a real discipline and to demonstrate that the representation of interest groups is a constitutive element of the decision-making process (Carloni, 2020). Following this perspective, we will identify lobbying as a natural phenomenon of the democratic process, also referring to the interpretation of Pier Luigi Petrillo, a supporter of the theory that "where there is democracy, there is lobbying" (Teorie e tecniche del Lobbying, 2009). ​​Developing the analysis within the NRRP formulation process is supported by some studies emphasizing the importance of "context" as a crucial factor for understanding and studying the phenomenon (Lowery, 2007; Svallfors, 2016). A. Cattaneo (Il mestiere del potere. Dal taccuino di un Lobbista, 2018) also suggests investigating the external influences that intervene in the decision-making process by understanding the context in which these phenomena occur. Taking into consideration the most recent research concerning the issue of stakeholders regarding the NRRP, it is clear that there is space to analyze the national media more widely and to create a link between individual lobbying operations and actual consequences on the text of the document, integrating a "policy design" approach (Pritoni et al., 2023) under the framework of strategic planning in the public sector. It is also clear that within the process of formulating the NRPP, there were pressure actions from actors not belonging to the associative organizations (Pritoni et al., 2023). It may, therefore, be useful to provide an additional contribution that also considers these aspects not yet deeply analyzed in previous studies, offering an innovative perspective given by the connection of the aspects of strategic planning in the public sector to those of interest representation. Taking into consideration this space within the scientific literature, it is hypothesized that some interest groups influenced the formulation phase of the Plan. It is proposed to adopt a mixed methodological approach that includes media analysis in order to understand how the NRRP has been introduced to the citizens and how it has been discussed within the public sphere; the analysis of the content of the Plan; the elite interviews with managers and public decision-makers, integrating the process study methodology to provide a detailed analysis of the processes and steps that led to the formulation of the NRRP. This approach allows us to reassemble the main process stages chronologically and identify the main actors involved. The simultaneous use of these methodologies could offer a multidimensional perspective on NRRP, allowing the exploration of issues such as content analysis, the understanding of internal dynamics, and the discovery of key themes. This integrated approach will permit the full analysis of the NRRP formulation process. The research could, therefore, contribute to understanding the relationships between interest groups and public decision-makers and power dynamics, offering an in-depth insight into the NRRP formulation process and laying the foundations for more systematic future research. Beyond the scientific field of lobbying, the research can also have scientific implications on theories of public management, public policies, and public administration, paving the way for further insights into the mechanisms of participation of non-state actors and decision-making transparency.
 

Panel 5.4 Contentious politics in times of multiple crises


This panel aims to engage the Political Participation and Social Movements standing group in a
collective debate over the changes that occurred during the multiple crisis of the last years: pandemic, war, climate change, socioeconomic crises. While policy makers often react with “emergency measures” to the crises, social movements refuse the emergency narrative proposed by power holders, recalling to the structural nature of such crises, and trying to overturn the perception of the irreversibility of the events. Thus, while social movements defend rights that are perceived as at risk, they also suggest other possible solutions and narratives, building networks based on mutual trust and solidarity. Current times are characterized by the effects of Covid-19 pandemic period, the war, the spread of illiberal governments, the climate change and socioeconomic crisis. These are all circumstances that affect policy and politics, but they are also struggle fields, and opportunities for progressive social movements and regressive movements. In this perspective, research is needed to explore how political priorities of social movements have changed, and whether this change will be permanent. The increased necessity of digital infrastructure also contributed to revive the political discussion over technologies, their use, their non-neutral character, over new forms of digital activism. Thus, contributions on the following issues are welcomed:
- Mobilization during covid and post-covid period
- Mobilizations against the wars and genocide
- Antiracist mobilizations
- Urban mobilizations (for instance, students’ demos, anti-gentrification campaigns, anti-prisoner mobilizations)
- Forms of digital activism
We open the call to address to research works that reflect on and analyse social movements and collective action during current multiple crises. We welcome contributions with no preference on the theoretical framework and methodologies used.

Chairs: Federica Frazzetta, Gianni Piazza, Giuliana Sorci

After the storm: Comparing the determinants of young people’s protest behaviour across South European contexts
MartÍn Portos
Abstract
Young people’s mass mobilisation has been key for restructuring political competition in Southern Europe in the last decade. From a comparative standpoint, this article examines the drivers of protest recruitment in Greece, Italy, and Spain. The results point towards a strong heterogeneity among the three cases: while women and people with left-libertarian attitudes form the basis of the youth milieus engaged in contemporary street protest in Spain, these findings are partially confirmed for Italy and ruled out for Greece. We argue that protest legacies and trajectories need to go together with politicisation and issue salience to get individual-level correlates of protest activated— however, our mixed empirical evidence suggests that some context-specific conditions intervene in this relationship. Our results points towards a strong heterogeneity in the profile of protesters, inviting us to question the use of Southern Europe as a valid unit of analysis for the study of contemporary social movements and protests.
Contextualizing social movement trajectories: A comparison between the French Yellow Vests and the Spanish Indignados
Yunus Turan
Abstract
This work aims to understand the evolution of social movement trajectories by examining the interplay between extra-institutional and institutional politics. Using a processual approach, I analyze the trajectories of the French Yellow Vests and the Spanish Indignados movements. Both began as autonomous, participatory, and horizontal movements, initially distancing themselves from institutional politics. Despite their shared autonomous organizational structures and criticism of institutional politics, their paths diverged over time. Podemos emerged as a movement party in Spain, channeling the Indignados' demands and several activists into institutional politics. However, a similar initiative did not arise in France. By examining these similarities and differences, I seek to explain how these two movements developed different trajectories despite their similarities at the outset. To answer this question, by drawing on political opportunity structures and resource mobilization theories, I specify the structural determinants of social movement organizations as the movement's access to the party system and decision-making processes, the capacity of political authorities to implement public policies, and the structure of alliances and conflicts. Additionally, I draw on cultural approaches to identify the internal determinants of social movement organizations such as the activist cultures and experiences and collective identity-building processes, in addition to frames of movements. Building on this theoretical basis, I show that the French and Spanish political systems were relatively inaccessible for social movements at the outset of the Yellow Vests and The Indignados. Furthermore, as a general feature, the political power structure favors the executive due to the majoritarian democratic tendency, which strengthens the capacity to implement public policies in these two countries. I also point out that their political party systems are bipartisan and polarized along the left-right axis, contributing to political disaffection among the French and Spanish populations over time. Furthermore, the gap between elites and the people has been widened due to the establishment of a neoliberal regime, increasing inequalities and a sense of injustice. Consequently, both in France and Spain, the structure of alliances and conflicts crystallizes around the cleavage between elites and the people. Drawing on these similarities, to explain the diverging trajectories of these two movements, I argue that the similar political opportunity structures at the outset of the mobilization in these two contexts evolved in different directions, causing changes in the incentives and constraints for possible movement trajectories. Secondly, I contend that the secondary socialization processes during the mobilization differently shaped activist experiences, and identities in a dynamic interplay with the macro level changes, causing alterations in participants' attitudes towards institutional politics. To support these arguments, I first examine the evolving political opportunity structures in Spain and France. Public surveys indicate that Spaniards viewed existing political parties and politicians as major problems of the country, alongside unemployment and economic troubles, creating opportunities for new parties such as Podemos to gain field. Consequently, the political system facilitated the rise of Podemos and encouraged activists to engage in electoral politics. Conversely, in France, the political opportunities evolved differently, hindering new political forces. The relatively recent introduction of La République en Marche (LREM) into the political party system and the renewed images of La Rassemblement National (LRN) and La France Insoumise (LFI) led to a new multidimensional political polarization. This shift constrained the maneuver space of the movement actors to take the institutionalization pathway. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced state repression, changed political priorities, and limited activist interactions by digital spaces. In the second part of my argument, I focus on the secondary socialization within these movements. By examining literature that qualitatively assesses the micro-level internal dynamics of these two movements, I argue that the impacts of secondary socialization during mobilization varied between them. The popular assemblies provided the Indignados with opportunities to socialize with a diverse array of activists, including party and union members, newcomers, and anarchists, fostering convergence among these groups. These protest spaces were governed by inclusive rules, alleviating fears of co-optation by major political parties or labor unions. As a result, despite existing tensions among different activist factions, the intensive socialization processes facilitated convergence between institutional and extra-institutional politics. In contrast, the Yellow Vests somehow limited exchanges between different types of activists through internal rules emphasizing the movement's “apolitical” character. This led to the gradual expulsion or concealment of certain partisan activists or pushed them to hide their political affiliations. Consequently, secondary socialization among the participants led to solidarity among the “yellow vests” as an autonomous political identity but did not foster convergence between institutional and extra-institutional political agents.
Exploring the role of emotions in housing and climate movements in Italy and Spain
Vito Giannini, Gabriele D'Adda
Abstract
Over the past 20 years, the emergence and development of multiple crises at a global and local levels (e.g., ecological and climate change, socioeconomic crises, pandemics, wars) have contributed to a widespread sense of social insecurity but have also generated mobilization opportunities for social movements and protest groups. On the one hand, a state of crisis can strongly impact the physical and psychological health of individuals by fostering unpleasant emotions and pathological mental states that weaken the social fabric and limit political participation (Ross and Squires, 2011; Jasper, 2018). On the other, the threat posed by the crisis can also produce an active response from social movements and protest groups that mobilize to demand institutional intervention or promote forms of mutualism and direct social action to address the problem from below (Bosi e Zamponi, 2018; Santos, 2019; D’Adda et al., 2022). For example, the financial crisis of 2007 produced increased economic insecurity and housing precarity in many Western countries (Madden and Marcuse, 2016; Carr, Edgeworth and Hunter, 2018; Rolnik, 2019), but it also provoked a reaction from activists and citizens that since 2011 led to mobilizations such as Indignados and Occupy Wall Street (Castañeda, 2012; Della Porta, 2015). Similarly, the perception and effects of climate change have generated negative material and psychosocial impacts especially on the most vulnerable individuals and groups (Feyen et al. 2020; Palinkas and Wong, 2020; Ngcamu, 2023). In this case, the threat of ecocatastrophe has motivated collective action by young people concerned about their future, who have founded new climate groups and organizations since 2018, such as Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion (de Moor et al., 2020; Poma and Gravante, 2021; Giannini, forthcoming). Although emotions have been scarcely considered in social movement theories since the 1960s, academic interest in their role in mobilization processes has increased considerably in recent years (Goodwin, Jasper and Polletta, 2001; Aminzade and McAdam, 2002; Flam and King, 2005; Jasper, 2011). While the analysis of material and psychological impacts brings out the emotional dimension of the multiple crisis, exploring the role of emotions in the dynamics of activism allows us to understand both the perception of threat or injustice and the response to the social problem by movements, organizations, groups or individual activists and participants. In social movements and protest groups, individual and collective emotions (e.g., concern, anxiety, trust, hatred, hope, indignation, guilt, compassion) are central to all stages of mobilization (e.g., emergence, recruitment, strategies and tactics, alliances, consolidation, decline) and range in duration, intensity, source/object, and cognitive processing (reflex, urges, moods, affective, moral) (Jasper, 2018). Emotions can be evoked, suppressed, or channeled through "emotion work" (Hochschild, 1979; Gould, 2009), for example, to cope with and overcome unpleasant emotional states that emerge from perceived threat (Poma, 2019) or to transform the "feeling rules" that establish emotional expression and guide social interactions in each culture (Hochschild, 1979; Flam, 2005; Gravante, 2020). The aim of the contribution is to analyze the role of emotions 1) in the perception of the impacts of crises (housing and ecoclimate) and 2) in the response to the problem by citizens and activists involved in housing movement in Spain and Italy and climate movement in Italy. A sociocultural approach is followed, showing how different emotions are constructed in the two contexts and their effect on protest (Gravante and Poma, 2023). The analysis of the emotional dimension of housing and climate activism in Spain and Italy is based on data collected with qualitative techniques (interviews, participant observation, document analysis) during 2020-2023. The interviews were conducted with 40 participants and activists from different social movement groups and organizations: housing movement (PAH Barcelona - Spain; PLAT in Bologna - Italy) and climate movement (Fridays for Future Bologna and Extinction Rebellion Bologna - Italy). During the fieldwork the authors were able to have a direct perception of the protest dynamics, participating in assemblies, marches, actions, and public events, but also sharing moments of daily life with activists. Additional sources of data are written texts and photo/video material, published by participants and activists or collected personally.
Grassroots Movements in Critical Events: The Rise of Ecological Food Consumption Cooperatives in Turkey
Hande Dönmez
Abstract
Critical events, despite their disruptive nature, can also be catalysts for change. They are moments of ambiguity and transformation that deeply impact individual and collective trajectories and the structural factors around them. In the literature, there are four main types of critical events: critical encounters, natural disasters, or large-scale deepened changes in the routine of life, like economic crises and wars (Staggenborg, 1993). These eventful moments can create emotional, cognitive, and relational impacts on the individual level (della Porta, 2018). Moreover, they create new opportunities or constraints for contestation. Suppose the event and its effects increase the threats or needs related to movement concerns. In that case, it is more likely to impact the movement's visibility positively and can lead to further political action. Ecological food consumption cooperatives (EFCC), seeded during the eventful Gezi protests (della Porta, 2018) of 2013 in Turkey, are not just spaces of prefigurative food politics (Oba & Ozsoy, 2020) but also a testament to the power of grassroots movements. These cooperatives, which surged as a counter-response to the dominance of capitalist dynamics in food production and distribution (Oba & Özsoy, 2023), are a tangible example of how individuals can come together to effect change in times of crisis by creating networks of solidarity and mutual trust. Moreover, they aim to create an alternative public space (Al, 2020) to encourage more horizontal and participatory political participation while facing increased repression in the country (Esen & Gumuscu, 2016). Their position is vital because their critiques tackle the strong ties between capitalism and neoliberal governments. The 2020 pandemic has disrupted conventional food production, distribution, and consumption networks, highlighting issues within the global food system and drawing attention to the importance of re-localizing and regionalizing food systems . Lockdowns and mobility restrictions have also affected food availability, quality, and stability. During the pandemic, household incomes in Turkey fell sharply, like many other countries, with many individuals losing their jobs or closing their businesses. The contraction was most severe among low- and middle-income households, unlike more developed economies where lower-income workers were primarily affected (Köksal, 2021). Moreover, it raised concerns about food security and access to good quality food. Hence, it can be said that it has impacted consumption choices and priorities of individuals around food and turned it into a more contested topic. In 2023, Turkey experienced another moment of uncertainty and ambiguity due to the twin earthquakes that happened in March. The quake devastated 11 key agricultural provinces, impacting 15.73 million people and over 20% of the nation's food production. This region, known as the “fertile crescent,” contributes nearly 15% of the agricultural GDP and almost 20% of agrifood exports. Over one-third of the affected population live in rural areas, relying on agriculture for their livelihood. The earthquake disrupted supply chains and exacerbated financial difficulties, making it harder for rural families to access necessary inputs, meet basic needs, and support their families (The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2023). To conclude, EFCCs’ established solidarity and mutual trust networks, which tie urban consumers to local producers, became more important in these two same-type critical events. the rise of EFCCs in Turkey exemplifies the transformative potential of grassroots movements during times of crisis. These cooperatives, born out of the Gezi Park protests and further strengthened by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2023 earthquakes, highlight the critical role of solidarity and mutual trust in promoting food sovereignty and democratic resistance. By providing an alternative to capitalist food production and distribution systems, EFCCs not only address immediate food security concerns but also foster a more participatory and democratic political landscape. Their resilience and adaptability demonstrate how critical events can catalyze lasting change and underscore the importance of localized, community-driven solutions in the face of disruptions.
Legal mobilisation around migration in borderlands: A research agenda
Federico Alagna
Abstract
Legal mobilisation has been increasingly used as a repertoire of collective action in the field of migrant solidarity across the globe. While the use of the law as an instrument of social change is well established in fields such as civil rights and environmentalism, its deployment in political contention around migration is a more recent trend. The latter has followed the increasing centrality of migration-related issues – and the many controversies related to state-led human rights abuses and violations of international and refugee law. Scholars have been exploring this promising field, focusing on a number of cases, initiatives and jurisdictions. In so doing, they have given special attention to the European Union, as a political and juridical space in which legal mobilisation around migration has become particularly prominent, arguably in light of both the human right system in place and of the salience and politicisation of migration. Existing scholarship, however, has seldom considered the peculiar case of legal mobilisation around migration in borderlands, in spite of its flourishing empirical relevance. In this research note, I explain what is unique about the use of the law in the contentious politics of migration in border areas and, therefore, why it is important to study it and how this can be done. In particular, I firstly illustrate the state of the art on legal mobilisation around migration. Secondly, I critically discuss the peculiarity of borderlands as sites of legal mobilisation vis-à-vis other forms of mobilisation, engaging in a dialogue between socio-legal, border and contentious politics studies. Thirdly, I offer some reflections as to the different research avenues that can help us understand, conceptualise and study this phenomenon, giving due attention to theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects. Fourthly, I present and discuss against this background the preliminary findings of a research project on legal mobilisation in the Mediterranean region.
Long-Term Impacts of Social Movements on Democracy: Polarization as a Mediating Factor?
Berfin Çakın, Cesar Guzman Concha
Abstract
The literature on social movements has traditionally focused on the consequences of social movements for democracy. Scholars have demonstrated that grassroots movements often have positive impacts on democracy by enhancing transparency, accountability, and responsiveness, and by pioneering democratic innovations. However, recent studies suggest that social unrest might also contribute to democratic backsliding by exacerbating societal polarization. Relatively few studies have examined the interplay between polarization,social unrest and democracy. Addressing this gap, this paper explores whether the intensity and temporal dimension of protests might affect democracy through the indirect impact of societal polarization, focusing on (41) European and (22) Latin American countries. Utilizing datasets from the International Monetary Fund (Social Unrest Index, RSUI), Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), and Quality of Government (QoG), this study employs multilevel regression and time series analyses. Preliminary results indicate that protests do not affect democracy levels, but higher levels of protest can increase polarization, thus leading to a deterioration in democratic quality.
Mobilisation against labour reforms: a cross-case comparison of Italy’s Jobs Act and France’s Loi Travail
Virginia Salaorni, Katia Pilati
Abstract
Since the late 1990s, Italian and French labour markets have gradually reduced job security while increasing unemployment subsidies. This trend, driven by EU market restructuring guidelines contained in the 2000 Lisbon strategy document, intensified after the Great Recession. The aim was the adoption of a ‘flexicurity’ strategy, oriented to “soften market rigidities” and liberalise the workforce (Gumbrell-McCormick, 2011; Amable, 2016; Clauwaert, Schömann, and Rasnača, 2016; Syrovatka, 2021; Vail et al., 2023). Following the aforementioned guidelines, a year apart from each other, Italy and France’s centre-left governments promulgated two significant labour reforms. The Italian Jobs Act, proposed in 2014 and adopted in 2015 by the Renzi government, reformed layoff legislation, especially ‘Articolo 18’ of the Workers’ Statute, and expanded the use of fixed-term contracts (Cirillo, Fana, and Guarascio, 2017). Whereas, the French Loi Travail, proposed and approved in 2016 under Hollande’s mandate, relocated labour agreements and contractual bargaining from a collective to a firm level (Kessler, 2016; Laulom et al., 2016), simplified economic dismissals, and reduced Labour Tribunals’ interventions (Gazier, 2019; Clauwaert et al., 2016). Both Jobs Act and Loi Travail were widely contested within the Chambers (e.g. Galanti and Sacchi, 2019; Diwersy and Luxardo, 2020), as well as in the streets (e.g. Andretta, 2018; Béroud, 2018), since they attacked two cornerstones of capital-labour relations in the subject countries and were perceived as neo-liberal and top-down imposed. This paper aims to analyse the protests in response to labour market reforms in Italy and France. These two countries are historically associated with the “strike front” in Europe (Gumbrell-McCormick and Hyman, 2013) with unions playing a central role in protest actions. However, they also exhibit important differences in industrial relations: trade union density in France has been one of the lowest in Europe, around 8 percent in the 2000s, compared to over 30 percent in Italy, indicating a potential greater support by Italian unions in the mobilisation against the reform. Additionally, the existing literature reveals that in France, unions often collaborated with other civil society organizations (Le Queux and Sainsaulieu, 2010; Béroud and Yon, 2012; Barron et al., 2016), whereas in Italy, protests tended to be largely dominated by established unions (Andretta, 2018; Pilati and Perra, 2022). Did differences in union density and union alliances lead to diverse protests against the labour market reforms in the two countries under analysis, and did unions and their allies differently support the challenges posed by the two reforms? Empirically, we use data collected through a Protest Event Analysis (PEA) on labour-related collective actions that occurred in Italy and in France. The Italian dataset covers events from 2008 to 2018 using ‘La Repubblica’ as the textual source, while the French dataset accounts for events that occurred from 2016 to 2019, relying on ‘Le Monde’. Starting from the complete datasets, we focused on those collective actions specifically targeting the government and the Jobs Act or Loi Travail reform, resulting in 130 observations for Italy and 188 observations for France. We draw on contentious politics to examine protests against the two reforms: on the one hand, the political process model allows us to tackle the role of political opportunities, and specifically the enactment of the labour market reforms and their role in shaping protests’ ebbs and flows (Kriesi et al., 2020). This focused analysis permits us to delve into the characteristics of the protest fields, in particular, the action repertoire of anti-labour reform protests, and their frequency, to identify picks and periods of increased protest activity from the discussion to the promulgation of the laws. On the other, the relational perspective of social movements and contentious politics allows us to examine the challengers, the various actors involved – unions, CSOs, informal groups - and their alliances and networks, to reconstruct the different organisational patterns.
Rethinking the future: pre-figurative practices in Spanish left radicalism
Nerea Montejo
Abstract
This article focuses on the Spanish context following a decade of crisis and anti-austerity movements, with protests that, despite their intensity, did not achieve an effective transformation or revolution. This scenario, taken advantage of by the state powers to absorb social movements through co-optation and institutionalisation, added to the worsening of the capitalist crisis, has led radical left movements to a situation of impasse. That is, a moment of disarticulation or fragmentation of social movements unable to organise themselves strategically. Nevertheless, radical left movements can be observed valorising previous repertoires and beginning to re-constitute themselves. Thus, this article explores, through the Framing Analysis technique and Discourse Analysis, the theoretical-practical discussions that are taking place in two currents of the Spanish radical left movements; the autonomous and the communist. The debate on their strategic articulation is studied, and more specifically, the prefigurative practices they carry out. In the first results we can observe the different conception that both traditions have of autonomy and political power, reflected in the prefigurative practices carried out in the axis of space. Thus, two different prefigurative articulations, the Social Centre of autonomy and the Space under Proletarian Control, which in turn embody the desires of the movements, appear in opposition to each other. They ride between prefiguration as an end, as the construction of a counter-power (end-objective) or as the consolidation of an independent power that gives rise to a process towards self-government (means).
Space, Time and Interactions in Revolution
Gianni Del Panta
Abstract
In the wake of the 2007-08 economic and financial crisis, the world has witnessed the outbreak of an unprecedented number of mass mobilizations, reinvigorating the scholarly interest in the interplay between protests from below and regime dynamics. With no exception, however, all these mass movements have patently failed to unleash deep political and social transformations, let alone revolutionize societies. In reacting to this, researchers have debated whether and to what extent these events could be considered as revolutionary episodes and why, to borrow from Asef Bayat’s (2017) lexicon, revolutions that were particularly strong as movement achieved so little in terms of change. This has sparked, in turn, reflections in the field of revolutionary studies. The present article aims at contributing to this debate in two main ways. It firstly discusses what revolution is and is not. By revising the main definitions of the phenomenon and accepting its nature as of an essentially contested concept, the article separates the end of a revolution from its beginning. It subsequently discusses what accounts for the outbreak of a revolutionary situation and proposes clear criteria to evaluate whether and to what extent a revolution has been successful. Although these aspects have been recurrently debated in revolutionary theory, the article grounds its perspective in the standpoint of concrete totality, which is based on an ontology that is absolutely relational. This inspires not only the understanding of revolution, but also how it can be studied, leading to the second contribution of the piece that suggests a different way of reflecting upon knowledge accumulation in the field. It does so by moving beyond the classic habit to divide revolutionary studies into generations of scholarship and exploring how revolutionary theory might benefit from a rethinking of space (moving beyond analytical bifurcation between the domestic and the international), time (reading history forward) and interactions (rejecting essentialist interpretations of the behaviour of social and political actors) in revolution. The case of Tunisia (2010–14), Egypt (2011 – 13), and Algeria (2019–21) are used to show how the approach works.
Stepping forward, stepping back? Assessing the articulation and practice of identity politics in contemporary social movements
Timothy Peace, Alex Hensby, Emile Chabal
Abstract
Over the past two decades, progressive social movements have helped foreground identity politics as a critique of power and as a model for building democratic consensus. This has impacted the mobilisation strategies of left-leaning political parties and organisations, drawing inspiration from their organisational structure and repertoires of action (Della Porta, 2020). Their aim has been to stimulate participation from hitherto-disengaged electoral constituencies, notably racialised minorities. Yet this strategy has been criticised for driving polarisation, and even accelerating the disengagement of other marginalised communities (Mason, 2018; Fukuyama, 2018). Much of this debate is normative in nature, with advocates and critics arguing over the relative merits of identity politics within and beyond the left. We focus on the empirical realities of identity politics by examining their development and application over the past two decades in European political activism. In particular, we look at two repertoires often associated with identity-based social movements. Firstly, Democratic repertoires that are more inwardly focused on process and involve practices designed to foster inclusive participation and safety within a group (safer spaces, progressive stacking). Secondly, we look at Repertoires of recognition which we define as the those, often evident across a range of identity groups, which are designed to promote an identity group’s right to self-actualisation in the face of marginalisation, historical erasure, and the invisible reproduction of power relations. These include forms of direct action designed to draw attention to the perspective of the marginalised (no platforming, statue toppling). We draw on a range of examples, including prefigurative movements (e.g. Occupy) and race, religion, or ethnicity-based mobilisation (e.g. BLM). Our goal is to historicise identity politics as a way of exploring its short-term impact on social movements, and its long-term impact on democratic norms in Europe.
The drivers and consequences of protest mobilisation in European crises
Ioana Elena Oana, Chendi Wang, Hanspeter Kriesi, Argyrios Altiparmakis
Abstract
Protest activities have long been regarded as important for expressing grievances and achieving goals in democracies. This paper tackles the questions of why and how people mobilize, and looks into the consequences of such mobilization, by engaging with the major theories of social movement mobilization and applying them to three major crises (Eurozone, Refugee, and Covid) that have hit European Member States and the EU. Using an original protest event dataset spanning the period 2008-2021, we attempt to examine the relationship between the crisis-specific problem pressures, political pressures coming from public opinion, supply-side dynamics, and the nature and extent of political protest. By integrating both demand-side indicators in terms of crisis-specific issue salience and supply-side indicators in terms of salience of crisis-specific issues among the elites we aim to analyze both the drivers and consequences of protest under the same empirical umbrella. In terms of its drivers, we examine the protest activation potential of the crises by looking at how the extent of protest responds to both crisis-specific problem pressures resulting in higher grievances, but also to its wider political context in terms of salience of crisis-specific issues among publics. In terms of its consequences, we attempt to gauge the extent to which protest can be a driver of government approval, but also of heightened salience of crisis-specific issues on the supply-side. In bridging research on the drivers and consequences of protest and studying these comparatively though crises, our paper brings several contributions to the literature on European crises and on protest. First, the literature on demand-side political pressures within European crises has been mostly focused on studying public opinion and addressing questions related to the drivers of policy preferences within such crises, or on the relationship between public opinion, policymakers, and policy. Examining the role of protest during crises constitutes an important addition as protest represents not only visible displays of dissatisfaction with the status-quo, but also has the potential to put pressure and constraints on the national government with indirect implications for the EU polity. Second, studying the drivers and consequences of political protest under the same empirical umbrella and using the same indicators constitutes a relative novelty in studies of protest. The wide array of crisis-specific public opinion, and policy process indicators introduced in this paper allows us to examine both the reactive and the proactive nature of protest during crises. Finally, while there is a wide literature comprising of studies of protest within specific crises, studying protest comparatively across crises spanning different policy domains, different levels of intensity across European Member States, and different patterns of engagement of political actors influencing the environment in which protest takes place, is a new endeavor (though for an exception, see Oana et al. 2024). In what regards the protest activation potentials of crises, we show that protest is strongly reactive to crisis-specific problem and political pressures. Heightened problem pressure in terms of economic hardship, refugee arrivals, and covid pressure all increase crisis-specific protest in the same month. In what regards political pressure, the salience of crisis-specific issues in the public also drives protest related to these crises. In what regards protest’s consequences during crises, we show that protest appears to directly influence both levels of incumbent support, with potentially important electoral consequences, and has an agenda-setting effect on the elites. Furthermore, our results show that problem pressure, public salience, and protest all appear to be independent drivers of incumbent support and agenda-setting interacting little with one another on average.
 

Panel 5.5 Social construction of corruption: Civil Society, Media and Political actors


In the last few decades, a growing awareness has emerged at the national and global levels about the pivotal role played by civil society in mobilizing against corruption and in building community resilience against it. Consequently, defining corruption presents a significant challenge, reflecting a multifaceted phenomenon that varies across legal, economic, social, and cultural contexts. Its complexity transcends simple legal definitions, entering the realm of social construction, where diverse actors—ranging from policymakers and civil society to mass media—play critical roles in shaping its understanding. Building on the theoretical framework of the PRIN PNRR project SOMMOSSA (SOcial media and civic Mobilization as MOnitoring toolS in the SociAl construction of corruption), which regards corruption as a concept shaped by a process of collective definition, this panel seeks to explore the intricate mechanisms behind the social construction of corruption. It aims to examine the factors influencing this process and identify the key actors involved.
The objective of our panel is to delve into the ways in which corruption is recognized, defined, and contested within various societies. We aim to shed light on the role of claim-making actors, including the media, social movements, political actors, and public opinion, in framing corruption. We invite submissions that address the following themes:

The role of legacy media and social media in shaping public perceptions of corruption.
The impact of digital activism and civic engagement in anti-corruption efforts.
The role of civil society actors in shaping anti-corruption policies.
Comparative analyses of corruption as a socially constructed phenomenon.
New elusive forms of corruption, such as “state capture”, “legalized corruption”, “institutional corruption”.
The interaction between legal frameworks and social narratives in defining and combating corruption.
The influence of political polarization and instrumentalization on the discourse of corruption.
Methodological approaches to studying the social construction of corruption and anti-corruption.

Submissions are encouraged from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including political science, sociology, communication studies, law and economics.

Chairs: Marco Mazzoni, Alberto Vannucci

Civil Society Actors in Lebanon: A saving grace to the country's corrupt political and religious systems
Fatima Dhanani
Abstract
Civil Society Organisations are essential actors in Lebanon. They play a multifaceted role in holding the government accountable, providing essential services, promoting social cohesion, upholding democratic values, and responding to crises. In particular, feminist activist groups have a role in promoting, empowering and supporting women in an otherwise, divisive, sectarian and ‘sextarian(ism)’ (Mikdashi, 2022) society. Since independence, Lebanon’s power-sharing arrangement – more aptly renamed as a power-dividing arrangement – has created huge factions in society. Most acutely, this arrangement, along with its confessional system, is creating a vacuum of good governance and a solid rule of law at state level. There is a lack of transparent and accountable state institutions. Additionally, religious authorities are working with the political elite to uphold this sectarian divide as a lucrative and corrupt system. The Lebanese Constitution of 1926 upholds equality between men and women (Article 7) and enables religious plurality by recognising 18 official religions in the country (Article 9). However, the misapplication of this article has led to religious communities having an exclusive power over personal status matters and impeded the issuance of a common civil law. So, sect rights took primacy over citizen rights, and they increased given the reduced State control and unjust laws imposed on citizens in the name of God, thereby rendering people incapable of reviewing those laws, also in the name of God. This has corrupted the system turning it into an obstacle to the emergence of the values of citizenship as essentially the relationship between an individual and the State through the rule of law (KAFA, 2019). The autonomy and power given to religious elites circumvents and oppresses women’s rights in the private sphere as religious laws prevail and these, across many religious traditions are patriarchal in nature. This is where civil society groups in Lebanon are working empower women and more so to uphold the principles of the constitution. In this paper, I will consider the crucial of civil society actors such as KAFA, the Adyan Foundation, Legal Agenda and others to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence, promote the welfare of women and combat corruption which is deeply entrenched in the Lebanese political system. Each of these organisations works at the grassroots level and with senior political and religious stakeholders to further their mission. I will demonstrate the challenges of the current Lebanese power-sharing model as an operative of corruption that enables the elite in society to thrive and create national disunity in the name of power. And finally, I will examine the influence of political and religious polarisation on the discourse of corruption.
Il monitoraggio civico quale strumento di prevenzione della corruzione. Tra civic engagement e civic tech
Francesca Rispoli, Alberto Vannucci
Abstract
Con la firma della Convenzione ONU di Merida (UNCAC) nel 2003, è stata introdotta la “partecipazione della società” tra gli strumenti di prevenzione della corruzione. Il testo prevede che gli Stati prendano “misure appropriate volte a favorire la partecipazione attiva”, tra le quali particolare rilevanza è data alla trasparenza dei processi decisionali, all’accesso alle informazioni da parte di tutti i cittadini e all’educazione presso scuole e università. Conseguentemente alla ratifica della Convenzione, l’Italia ha condotto un processo di adeguamento normativo che è arrivato a maturazione con l’approvazione e l’entrata in vigore della legge 190/2012 e dei decreti conseguenti, in cui è confermato il ruolo della trasparenza quale fattore abilitante per l’attivazione della cittadinanza. In questa prospettiva, il coinvolgimento civico, o civic engagement, è uno strumento considerato utile per rinsaldare i legami tra cittadinanza e istituzioni, progressivamente indeboliti negli ultimi decenni. Particolare interesse ha assunto in letteratura la definizione di “monitoraggio civico”, quale forma di controllo diffuso e dal basso, che ha visto un’accelerazione in considerazione dall’avvento di piattaforme di reporting, aggregatori di dati e strumenti social di condivisione. Tra gli autori di riferimento di questa nuova “categoria” di democrazia (monitory democracy) si inserisce l’analisi di John Keane (2018). L’autore osserva il progressivo calo di partecipazione pubblica - l’alto tasso di astensionismo in molte democrazie mature ne è chiaro sintomo - e ipotizza che possa essere invertito attraverso un cambiamento di sistema che generi una nuova stagione di coinvolgimento della cittadinanza rispetto alla sfera politica. In questo scenario, la possibilità di individuare e segnalare dal basso gli abusi di potere, può diventare utile strumento per riqualificare e innovare le forme di partecipazione democratica, per la promozione di nuove e più efficaci forme di accountability, nel settore pubblico e privato. In precedenza, Michael Shudson (1998) nel suo testo “The good citizen: a history of American Civic Life” aveva analizzato il declino della partecipazione politica, anche in considerazione dell’indebolimento dei legami civici della società americana[2]. L’intuizione innovatrice che si ritrova in Shudson è relativa a una nuova categoria di cittadini, definiti monitoranti (monitoral citizen), capaci di esaminare il contesto in cui vivono ed essere pronti a diventare attivi, laddove il loro intervento possa essere considerato rilevante. In Italia, anche in considerazione dell’entrata in vigore della 190, si sono sviluppate alcune forme di monitoraggio civico. In particolare, con l’avvio del PNRR si sono attivate esperienze di monitoraggio caratterizzate da modalità distinte di civic engagement e di utilizzo delle civic tech. Il paper, partendo da una rassegna teorica sul coinvolgimento della cittadinanza come fattore preventivo della corruzione e, nello specifico, sul potenziale ruolo del monitoraggio civico quale prassi in via di consolidamento a livello nazionale e internazionale, prenderà in esame alcuni casi presenti nel panorama italiano, per analizzare le modalità di coinvolgimento della cittadinanza e di utilizzo delle tecnologie.
Il ruolo degli indicatori nella narrazione dei fenomeni corruttivi. Il caso di ANAC.
Roberto Santilli
Abstract
La corruzione non è un concetto statico o universale, essendo fortemente influenzata dai contesti sociali e culturali in cui si manifesta ed evolve. All'interno di una determinata società e in un dato momento storico, il concetto di corruzione è definito, percepito e interpretato sulla base dei valori , delle norme e delle sanzioni che caratterizzano la società in quel preciso momento. Valori, norme e sanzioni evolvono nel tempo dipendono anche dalla narrazione del fenomeno corruttivo in seno alla società. La narrazione avviene attraverso i mezzi di informazione, la letteratura scientifica e le proposte politiche. Essa può influenzare profondamente la percezione pubblica della corruzione e la legittimità delle strategie adottate per combatterla. Per sensibilizzare cittadini e policymakers nella lotta contro i fenomeni corruttivi, sta crescendo il ricorso alle metodologie di analisi del rischio e alla comparazione dei dati. Indicatori come il Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) di Transparency International, l'indice di controllo della corruzione della Banca Mondiale, sono ormai largamente conosciuti e utilizzati in diversi contesti. In Italia la lotta alla corruzione vede un ruolo molto attivo dell’Autorità Nazionale Anticorruzione (ANAC), che ha di recente elaborato un set di indicatori relativi ai fenomeni corruttivi. Gli indicatori sono stati elaborati attraverso un percorso partecipato che ha visto il coinvolgimento di diversi attori istituzionali, accademici, del mondo della ricerca ed esponenti di organizzazioni non governative. L’approccio basato su indicatori presenta alcuni limiti, tra cui il fatto che le correlazioni tra variabili non sempre possono rivelare i nessi di causalità sottostanti. L'articolo si propone di apprezzare il valore segnaletico di alcuni indicatori che ANAC sta utilizzando per misurare il rischio di corruzione in Italia, per evidenziare come la narrazione del rischio corruttivo possa essere influenzata dalla scelta dell'indicatore. In particolare, sarà esaminato il caso dell’indicatore di addensamento sotto soglia nell'ambito della misurazione del rischio corruttivo negli affidamenti pubblici.
La corruzione nei sistemi portuali. Attori, risorse, meccanismi
Marco Antonelli, Alberto Vannucci
Abstract
Negli ultimi anni nella letteratura internazionale si è aperto un ambito di ricerca ancor poco esplorato che riguarda il rapporto tra criminalità e porti. In questo dibattito alcune ricerche hanno analizzato alcuni mercati illegali, soprattutto il traffico internazionale di stupefacenti, segnalando, allo stesso tempo, le opportunità illecite generate nell’ambito dei mercati legali. All’interno di queste ricerche, uno dei dati che sembra comparire con una certa costanza è la presenza di scambi corruttivi, sia come fenomeni a sé stanti, sia come fenomeni prodromici di altre azioni illegali. In questo senso, i porti si presentano come particolari ambiti politici, economici e sociali, in cui pluralità di attori pubblici e privati entra in relazione, creando una molteplicità di mercati (legali e illegali), ma che, allo stesso tempo, risultano formalmente inaccessibili. Ad oggi, però, mancano ancora contributi che provino a fornire un impianto teorico più ampio per comprendere i fenomeni corruttivi in ambito portuale. Il paper intende presentare un possibile modello interpretativo a partire da alcuni casi di corruzione emersi nel sistema portuale italiano. L’intento è di analizzare le peculiarità dei processi decisionali nei porti in relazione alle opportunità di corruzione (in presenza o assenza di gruppi criminali), utilizzando i casi empirici provenienti dai principali scali commerciali, in particolare quello di Genova. Nel farlo, verrà data particolare attenzione agli elementi che rendono i porti attrattivi per gli scambi corruttivi, come, ad esempio, le risorse disponibili e generabili nell’ambito, e le dinamiche di interazione tra autorità pubbliche, imprese private e ceto politico. Seguendo un approccio qualitativo, lo studio sarà basato su fonti giudiziarie, articoli di stampa (cronache ed editoriali), relazioni dei responsabili anticorruzione delle Autorità di Sistema portuale italiane, e interviste.
L’attrazione del vuoto. Due modelli anticorruzione, del Controllo e dell’Integrità, a confronto: le sconnesse fondamenta del primo e l’assenza di fondamenta dell’altro in Italia.
Cristina Barbieri
Abstract
Il paper presenterà una proposta di ricerca ai suoi primissimi passi, sollecitata nell’ultimo panel Sisp coordinato da Damonte e Vannucci e frutto della collaborazione tra C.B., scienziata politica e teorica del potere, e A.T., funzionaria amministrativa con esperienza nell’analisi e applicazione della normativa anti-corruzione. Poniamo due modelli, o ideal-tipi di strategie generali anti-corruzione, che chiameremo del Controllo e dell’Integrità, dotati della loro filosofia o ideologia, dei loro apparati e strumenti giuridici tipico-ideali, dei loro pregi e difetti intrinseci, ai quali si approssimano i sistemi reali di ciascun paese nel tempo, in misure assai diverse, pur rimanendo tutti tendenzialmente ibridi. I modelli, che sono appunto nel mondo ideale, non hanno in sé e per sé nessuna efficacia. Si può ritenerne preferibile uno sull’altro, ma non presumerlo per questo più efficace. Sono le politiche anti-corruzione, che li approssimano attraverso strumenti giuridici e la loro messa a terra – in coerenza maggiore o minore con la realtà di ciascun contesto socio-culturale – a poter esibire – eventualmente – qualche efficacia, con tutti i limiti delle politiche pubbliche. L’efficacia di politiche anti-corruzione si può “misurare” (non senza difficoltà) solo attraverso la riduzione del fenomeno corruttivo, come esso viene definito, riconosciuto e circoscritto dalla normativa, dalla policy in corso o da osservatori sociali che ne valutino l’impatto. Il paper propone appunto una ricerca sulle politiche anti-corruzione in Italia. L’ipotesi è che, al di là della crescente enfasi retorica richiamante il modello dell’Integrità, l’Italia non abbia fondamenta che approssimino quel modello, ma si sia dedicata a politiche coerenti al modello del Controllo, al di là dei limiti intrinseci del modello e della scarsa efficacia degli strumenti. Il paper diversificherà quattro piani di problemi: 1. Limiti intrinseci del modello del Controllo, 2. Problemi degli strumenti normativi con cui lo si è approssimato 3. Problemi nell'applicazione quotidiana della normativa da parte delle amministrazioni pubbliche 4. Problemi di inefficacia (cioè, la persistente situazione corruttiva, in particolare nell’ambito degli appalti stipulati dalle amministrazioni pubbliche). La tesi è che, tuttavia, fermi restando questi problemi, svoltare verso il modello dell’Integrità sarebbe un salto nel vuoto, un processo di “depoliticizzazione” (di ritrazione/riduzione della sfera della politica) e non una nuova politica anticorruzione.
Perils and Policies: Investigating the Impact of Criminal Violence on Public Emotions and Civil Society's Mobilization
Salvatore Sberna
Abstract
In numerous countries violence perpetrated by criminal groups consistently shapes the social and political landscape (Magaloni et al. 2020). Violence serves as a crucial tool for these groups to uphold the status quo by instilling fear and intimidation in both civil society and authorities (Moya 2018; Moya and Carter 2019). Through the strategic use of violence, criminal organizations establish dominance, deter resistance, and silence opposition. This atmosphere of fear ensures compliance within local communities, impedes witness cooperation with law enforcement, and undermines the effectiveness of legal institutions and policy changes aimed at curbing criminal activities. The impact of organized crime activities, marked by violent shocks, has been observed to influence distinctive traits within communities. This includes how individuals react to the fear and insecurity that inevitably ensue when organized crime groups establish themselves in the area (Justino 2012; Moya 2018;Rolla & Justino 2022). Additionally, it affects the inclination of individuals and families to invest in social capital, particularly directed towards individuals beyond their immediate group (Aghajanian et al. 2020; Rolla & Justino 2022). By leveraging violence, criminal groups weaponize negative emotions within the community, such as fear and insecurity, leading to people’s frustration, thereby making policy change and antimafia mobilization less attractive to both stakeholders and citizens (Moya and Carter 2019). As we look to corruption, criminal violence dramatically alters citizens' perception of it. From being inherently more invisible and ambiguous, violence can make collusive behaviors by authorities evident and public, or conversely, highlight a resolute opposition from them in attempting to steer institutions toward integrity and prevention and combating of the issue.Schedler (2016), for instance, found that framing criminal violence as a self-contained war among criminals ("bounded violence") can erode the attitudinal foundation of citizen solidarity and sympathy with the same victims, especially if they are wrongly perceived as colluded. Utilizing a novel dataset encompassing assassination attempts on elected officials perpetrated by mafia groups at local and national levels between 1980 and 2010 in Italy, the study exploits the inherent unpredictability in the success or failure of such attempts to discern the repercussions of criminal violence on people’s socail construction of corruption and support towards public institutions. The analysis permits an assessment of the extent to which emotions triggered by political assassinations perpetrated by criminal groups are contingent on the framing of the targets, as colluded or not with mafias. This expands on studies that have already addressed the impact of moral emotions on policymaking, particularly Zahariadis (2015), by assessing under which conditions events triggering fear among the public lead to either policy continuity or change. This research highlights criminal groups' role as contemporary catalysts for institutional change, contributes to the understanding of cognitive mechanisms that process people’s emotions and their social construction of policy problems, such as corruptionl, and underscores how seemingly minor, random events can significantly impact trajectories of policymaking and policy implementation.
The newsworthiness of the three traditional mafias among the Italian press from 2000 to 2023
Grazia Enerina Pisano
Abstract
According to studies on the representation and perception of corruption (Mancini, Mazzoni, Cornia, Marchetti, 2016), and considering the similar and interconnected nature of these phenomena, this abstract proposes research on the newsworthiness criteria of the three traditional mafias. The idea of proposing this abstract for a panel on corruption arises from the nature of the two phenomena and the “fatal attraction” between mafiosi and corrupt politicians (trans. Della Porta, Vannucci, 2021, p.185). In fact, as revealed during the initial stages of the trial known as the "Trattativa Stato-Mafia" in 2012, mafiosi and institutional actors carve out negotiation spaces with interlocutors within the State, receiving and offering resources as contracts, jobs, votes, influence, protection and bribes (trans. Della Porta, Vannucci, 2021, p.185). Mafias expand their businesses through professionals, entrepreneurs, administrators, and politicians, defined by Umberto Santino “mafia bourgeoisie” (1995). Operating in silence and relying on unsuspected figures - as the so-called “white-collar” - mafias, like corrupt phenomena, are extremely difficult to identify and represent. Inspired by the role of public opinion “in enabling action against corrupt phenomena, without which no legislative measure could be successful” (Mazzoni, Marchetti, Mincigrucci, 2021, p.36), this paper explores the newsworthiness criteria applied to mafia-related coverage in the Italian press from 2000 to 2023. In fact, as revealed by Vannucci and Sberna’s studies, in the case of corruption, the phenomenon of “politicization” was evident, which “is strategically advanced towards the political debate by parties, political leaders and media” (Mazzoni, Marchetti, Mincigrucci, 2021, p.27). What about mafias? How much does the Italian press talk about mafias in the first decades of the 21st century? What are the mechanisms that make mafia events newsworthy? Is the coverage the same for all three traditional mafias? Why - and on what occasions - does one mafia become more newsworthy than another? Through the analysis of media coverage from 01/01/2000 to 31/12/2023, in a comparison between Cosa Nostra, Camorra and ‘Ndrangheta conducted from a quantitative perspective, the study will be carried out on the four most influential Italian newspapers, generally considered as the ones that shape public opinion - “Corriere della Sera”, “Il Giornale”, “La Repubblica”, and “La Stampa” (Marletti, 1993, p.12). Due to the attention dedicated to events related to mafias, since 2009 and 2016 “Il Fatto quotidiano” and “L’Avvenire” will be included in the analyses. Known for the dramatic events that have marked contemporary Italian history, Cosa Nostra e Camorra are the most well-known and studied criminal organizations. While Cosa Nostra began to appear daily in the pages of newspapers - starting with the era of the “excellent cadavers” in the 1980s (Lupo, 2004), and later with the “strategy of terror” in the 1990s (Puccio-Den, 2008) -, the 'Ndrangheta has preferred “the path of silence and business” (trans. Ciconte, 2011, p.4). Meanwhile, as the Camorra attracted attention with its internal conflicts - from the “Nuova Camorra Organizzata” of Cutolo to the birth of the “Nuova Famiglia”, up to the hegemony of the Casalesi clan - the ‘Ndrangheta has become the leading transnational mafia in terms of strength and prestige (Ciconte, 2011). While massacres and violence triggered a significant response from the State and garnered the attention of national and international media, the Calabrian organization has always opted for a “karstic” strategy (Pellegrini, 2018), favoring the “colonization” of new territories without a traditional mafia presence (Dalla Chiesa, 2012). After the bombings of the 1990s, mafias sought to adopt a chameleon strategy able to favor a silent penetration in the legal economy. Following the “Maxiprocesso” in Palermo, Cosa Nostra was forced to reorganize itself, while the 'Ndrangheta capitalized on the opportunity to expand its operations. This evolution inevitably influenced the journalistic representation and narrative of mafias. Despite its significance on a global scale, the 'Ndrangheta is still the least known mafia today because of its nature. Compared to Cosa Nostra and the Camorra, over the years newspapers have given less attention to the Calabrian organization. In this case, what are the newsworthiness criteria in the last twenty years? What are the events that make ‘Ndrangheta newsworthy? Based on the available data about ‘Ndrangheta media coverage, it is evident that news dissemination increases during arrests and trials. Over the past 23 years, the moments of greatest salience occurred in 2010 during the police operation “Crimine-Infinito” between Lombardy and Calabria, involving affiliates and intermediaries. Similarly, another peak was recorded in 2015 during the “Processo Emilia”, marking the end of a state of torpor in the Emilia Romagna region (Pellegrini, 2018) - and the conclusion of the “Great Removal” (Dalla Chiesa, 2016) - revealing mutual dealings between entrepreneurs and 'Ndrangheta members. In a mass media perspective, this contribution aims to respond to all the questions posed, starting from a comparison of the media coverage of the three traditional mafias and continuing with an in- depth analysis of the ‘Ndrangheta.
The Social Construction of Corruption: The Media's Role in Shaping Public Perceptions and Social Dynamics
Roberto Mincigrucci, Rita Marchetti, Anna Stanziano, Marco Damiani
Abstract
What is corruption? The answer to this question has long been a subject of debate among experts and scholars, with numerous attempts at delineation emerging from various disciplines such as law, economics, and political science, highlighting a notable variety of interpretations (Gardiner 2001; Mungiu-Pippidi and Fazekas 2020). Despite this wide range of approaches, only a few studies have so far analyzed corruption as a socially constructed phenomenon (Wickberg, 2021), that is, a problem of the social construction of reality within a given social context (Berger & Luckmann 1966). The aim of our work is to deepen this approach, proposing a reflection that connects the attempts to define corruption conducted so far with sociological and media studies literature on the role of media in social construction processes. Our starting point is that corruption is not an objectively defined phenomenon but rather an idea that is continually articulated and redefined within different social and cultural contexts. Corrupt practices are not 'natural' but involve processes of collective definition and must be claimed and perceived as deviant within a specific social context to become or not a point of discussion in the public arena (Katzarova 2019). In other words, corruption is a socially constructed phenomenon, perceived as such within a specific social context (Granovetter 2007). The perception, norms, and values regarding corruption are influenced and shaped by human interactions, institutions, and especially the media. Indeed, the media will be our privileged point of observation for analyzing the social construction of corruption. The media do not merely reflect but actively construct social reality, impacting individual and collective perceptions and social structures (Couldry & Hepp 2017). Citizens are increasingly immersed in a media ecosystem where interpersonal and mass communication forms intertwine, providing them with the elements necessary to interpret the world they live in. The media shape not only information but also social norms and values, thus influencing the public understanding of what is considered corrupt or ethically questionable. Media coverage of corruption plays a crucial role in its social construction process, as do the contents produced by a plurality of different actors within social media platforms. However, extensive literature (Mancini et al. 2017; Berti et al. 2020) demonstrates that media narratives are deeply influenced by exogenous variables, including various forms of political influence or commercialization logics linked to competition for audience attention. These factors can introduce distortions in the representation of corruption, compromising the integrity of the social construction process and, consequently, public perception and responses to corruption itself. Through our work, we aim to offer new perspectives on the understanding and treatment of corruption, highlighting the central role of the media in shaping social dynamics around this phenomenon. REFERENCES Berger P. and Luckmann T. (1966) The social construction of reality. NY: Anchor Books Berti C., Bratu R., and Wickberg S. (2020) Corruption and the media (pp.107–17) in A research agenda for studies of corruption. Cheltenham:Elgar Pub. Couldry N., and HeppA. (2018). The mediated construction of reality. John Wiley & Sons. Gardiner J. A. (2001). Defining corruption. In A. J. Hedenheimer & M. Johnston (Eds.), Political corruption. Concepts and contexts (pp. 25–40). Transaction Publisher. Granovetter M. (2007) The Social Construction of Corruption (pp.152-172), in Nee et al (eds.) On Capitalism, Redwood: Stanford University Press. Katzarova E. (2019) The Social Construction of Global Corruption. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Mancini P. Mazzoni M. Cornia A. & Marchetti R. (2017) Representations of corruption in the British,French,and Italian Press. The Int.J.of Press/Politics 22(1):67–91 Mungiu-Pippidi A. and Fazekas M. (2020) How to Define and Measure Corruption. In A Research Agenda for Studies of Corruption, Edward Elgar Publishing, 7–26. Wickberg S. (2021) Understanding corruption in the twenty-first century: towards a new constructivist research agenda. Fr Polit 19, 82–102.
Tra State capture e clientelismo. Una rilettura dello «scandalo delle banane»
Tommaso Cerutti
Abstract
Il contributo si propone di rileggere lo «scandalo delle banane», scoppiato in Italia nel 1963, guardando ad esso attraverso la lente dei concetti di «State capture» e «clientelismo». Ciò alla luce delle evidenze portate da A. Grzymala-Busse, che ha messo in relazione i due fenomeni. Lo scandalo coinvolse l’allora presidente dell’Azienda Monopolio Banane (AMB), reo di aver truccato una gara pubblica per le concessioni di vendita. Le inchieste pubblicate da Ernesto Rossi negli anni precedenti rivelano però una gestione opaca dell’Ente pubblico, che spinge a riconsiderare il significato assunto ad un primo sguardo dal fatto corruttivo. Nel fare ciò si considererà il lento processo di formazione degli strumenti di regolazione e controllo del mercato nel nostro Paese e il legame tra esso e l’emergere di numerosi scandali legati alla corruzione all’inizio degli anni Settanta, rispetto ai quali i fatti del 1963 furono un primo campanello d’allarme. L’obiettivo sarà inoltre, analizzando i mutamenti intercorsi nel settore del commercio bananiero ‒ con particolare riferimento al nuovo scandalo legato all’importazione delle banane Chiquita del 1975 ‒ quello di osservare diacronicamente l’evoluzione del concetto di corruzione, ponendo particolare attenzione ai meccanismi alla base dei fatti corruttivi e alle loro modalità di emersione. Il rapporto politica-imprese sarà analizzato considerando la natura istituzionale degli attori in gioco attraverso un approccio qualitativo. Le fonti utilizzate per ricostruire l’episodio corruttivo saranno costituite prevalentemente dagli articoli de “Il Corriere della Sera” raccolti nel dataset Storia della Corruzione (2 giugno 1946 – 17 febbraio 1992), in fase di elaborazione presso l’Università di Pisa.
 

Panel 5.6 Investigating ecology and agriculture as fields of contention: climate justice movements, tractor protests and new environmentalism


The years since 2018 have seen an unprecedented wave of mobilisation around climate change in Europe, particularly among young people. The massive participation in climate action of a previously not politicised youth has transformed the landscape of environmental campaigning, bringing new and diverse actors to the fore. Together, these actors have brought climate change to the core of the social conflict, making it a positional issue. Such a significant and widespread movement, of international characteristics, with a specific generational characterization and a clear focus on the issue of climate change, represents an exceptional and exciting case for scholars interested in collective action. Research has shown the emergence of a new wave of climate action (representing a significant innovation in a long trajectory of activism, rooted in the emergence of the “climate justice” framework within different contexts), and new actors (some of whome have stabilised in the political landscape, while some others radicalized their political action).
On the other side, more recently several countries experienced riots over the EU's agricultural policy, with farmers as the protagonists and their tractors as the scenic presence. Such protests have sometimes been interpreted as an expression of rural populism (Mamonova, Franquesa, and Brooks 2020; Deppisch, Osigus, and Klärner 2022), highlighting farmers' resistance to some of the measures in the Green Deal, invoking concepts such as particularism and corporatism. However, other interpretations have been proposed, highlighting the limits of a bureaucratic and top-down approach to environmentalism. Such an approach, in convergence with other contemporary processes - including the increasing industrialization of agriculture, and its digitalization - was seen as stifling small and medium-sized farms, leading to a further concentration of land and capital in the hands of large corporations and reducing the margins of autonomy from below in food production. Other critical aspects concerned the limits of an orientation that tends to align with the paradigm of ecological modernization and the idea of sustainable development, without questioning the relationship between growth, capitalism and ecology, nor the issues of social justice underlying the ecological transition, nor the sustainability of environmental protection measures that do not challenge the dominant role played by large-scale organized distribution. Even the attempt of the EU Commission to meet some demands of the farmers in revolt, risks exacerbating the conflict between agriculture and rural areas on the one hand, and an environmentalism that seems to be taking on increasingly urban characteristics and, consequently, is perceived as alien and increasingly hostile to the rural world on the other.
Given such premises, in particular this panel accepts papers investigating:
- common features and differences between XR, FFF and other groups at both Italian and international levels; - the evolution of alliances, frames and strategies of the current environmental movements;
- the political, economic and discursive opportunity structure for climate movements;
- the interaction between climate justice protest events and media, and their representation in public discourse;
- the elements of continuity and those of rupture between the current and the past environmental movements;
- the relationship between the transnational climate movement and the local environmental conflicts (as LULU movements);
- the relationship between environmental movements and urban, rural, feminist, anti-racist and workers struggles;
- the way in which the climate justice movements has changed after the Covid-19 pandemic
- the relationship between ecology and no-war/antimilitarist struggles;
- the relationship between environmental degradation, sacrifice-zones and low-intensity conflicts and its cause.
- the way in which environmental movements politicize/frame and react to extreme weather events
- how environmental collective action changed in the light of the increase of repression measures
- theoretical and/or empirically grounded analyses of recent farmers’ protests, focused on the most diverse aspects (organization, claims and frames of contention, communication, strategies…)
- the relationships and attempts at dialogue that have developed in the territories between the networks of eco-climatic activism (also taking into account their socio-demographic characterization, especially in terms of age) and the farmers' protests in Italy and/or other European countries.
The panel intends to host theoretical and empirically based analyses, both comparative and case studies research are welcome, as well as contributions using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods of research.
On the other side, more recently several countries experienced riots over the EU's agricultural policy, with farmers as the protagonists and their tractors as the scenic presence. Such protests have sometimes been interpreted as an expression of rural populism (Mamonova, Franquesa, and Brooks 2020; Deppisch, Osigus, and Klärner 2022), highlighting farmers' resistance to some of the measures in the Green Deal, invoking concepts such as particularism and corporatism. However, other interpretations have been proposed, highlighting the limits of a bureaucratic and top-down approach to environmentalism. Such an approach, in convergence with other contemporary processes - including the increasing industrialization of agriculture, and its digitalization - was seen as stifling small and medium-sized farms, leading to a further concentration of land and capital in the hands of large corporations and reducing the margins of autonomy from below in food production. Other critical aspects concerned the limits of an orientation that tends to align with the paradigm of ecological modernization and the idea of sustainable development, without questioning the relationship between growth, capitalism and ecology, nor the issues of social justice underlying the ecological transition, nor the sustainability of environmental protection measures that do not challenge the dominant role played by large-scale organized distribution. Even the attempt of the EU Commission to meet some demands of the farmers in revolt, risks exacerbating the conflict between agriculture and rural areas on the one hand, and an environmentalism that seems to be taking on increasingly urban characteristics and, consequently, is perceived as alien and increasingly hostile to the rural world on the other.
Given such premises, in particular this panel accepts papers investigating:
- common features and differences between XR, FFF and other groups at both Italian and international levels; - the evolution of alliances, frames and strategies of the current environmental movements;
- the political, economic and discursive opportunity structure for climate movements;
- the interaction between climate justice protest events and media, and their representation in public discourse;
- the elements of continuity and those of rupture between the current and the past environmental movements;
- the relationship between the transnational climate movement and the local environmental conflicts (as LULU movements);
- the relationship between environmental movements and urban, rural, feminist, anti-racist and workers struggles;
- the way in which the climate justice movements has changed after the Covid-19 pandemic
- the relationship between ecology and no-war/antimilitarist struggles;
- the relationship between environmental degradation, sacrifice-zones and low-intensity conflicts and its cause.
- the way in which environmental movements politicize/frame and react to extreme weather events
- how environmental collective action changed in the light of the increase of repression measures
- theoretical and/or empirically grounded analyses of recent farmers’ protests, focused on the most diverse aspects (organization, claims and frames of contention, communication, strategies…)
- the relationships and attempts at dialogue that have developed in the territories between the networks of eco-climatic activism (also taking into account their socio-demographic characterization, especially in terms of age) and the farmers' protests in Italy and/or other European countries.
The panel intends to host theoretical and empirically based analyses, both comparative and case studies research are welcome, as well as contributions using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods of research.

Chairs: Niccolò Bertuzzi, Federica Frazzetta, Paola Imperatore, Elisa Lello, Lorenzo Zamponi

Adaptation from below: mapping adaptive grassroots initiatives to climate risk
Paola Imperatore
Abstract
As global warming is rapidly transforming our everyday life, the adaptation and disaster-risk reduction is becoming a pivotal challenge in climate governance (IPCC, 2022). Although assisting most vulnerable groups confronting climate change effects should be at the core of adaptation strategy, top-down adaptation policies seemed to have failed in providing adequate support, due to their technocratic approach that privileges hard infrastructure projects and technological responses rather than initiatives to strengthen the long-term adaptive capacity of vulnerable groups (Reid, 2014). The emergence of grassroots adaptation-oriented initiatives in some countries (Armiero, De Rosa, & Turhan, 2024) highlights the ineffectiveness of top-down strategies in addressing the urgent need for adaptation tools that can cope with ongoing climate and environmental transformations while considering various territorial vulnerabilities. As the adaptation aims to prevent distributional and procedural climate injustices, it must be regarded as an inherently political field, within which a bottom-up approach to just and transformative adaptation is currently emerging. While the literature on climate mobilization is expanding globally, addressing various topics and comparing different actors and contexts, the emergence of grassroots adaptive initiatives has still scarcely investigated. Existing studies mainly focus on resilience in urban contexts (Dawson 2017, Armiero et al., 2024; De Rosa et al., 2022) or on local institution-driven initiatives (Kirkby, Williams, C & Huq 2018; Fisher, 2019). By means of social mapping (Safiullin et al. 2015, James et al. 2016) on OpenStreetMap, this research aims at collecting different grassroots adaptive initiatives all over Italy, where the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events (Legambiente, 2023) conducted vulnerable groups to engage in bottom-up adaptive initiative to face everyday life risks coming from climate change. The collection would encompass a broad range of grassroots initiative (including climate direct action, strike, protest, social gardening, etc.) that have occurred in various contexts, either proactively or reactively, and over both short and long terms. The focus will be on initiatives that a) materially represent a form of adaptation to the climate risk; b) explicitly are connected by their actors with the issue of adaptation. The goal of this mapping project is to gather information about the actors, action repertoires, contexts, demands, frames and approaches that emerge in these initiatives, in order to explore the process of politicization of climate adaptation and to investigate the pathways that lead different vulnerable groups to bridge climate risk adaptation policies with other issues (as the right to ecological city, labour conditions, community-building, etc.).
Archives of the present: a project of archival activism by the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation
Matteo Spini, Serena Rubinelli
Abstract
Public memory is a battlefield between different narratives of the past (Daphi & Zamponi, 2019) in which public institutions, politicians, social movements, mass media and cultural institutions play a role. Moreover, memory is an outcome of protest but also a tool that supports and constrains new mobilizations (ibid.). Mass media are central in the representation of social movements and even in shaping their identity. However, the tendency is toward underrepresentation, stigmatization, distortion, and reliance on official sources (Rohlinger & Corrigall-Brown, 2018). In this way, "media are prone to culturally reproduce these broader economic and political ” (Zabern & Tulloch, 2020, p. 26). For instance, in mass media’s environmental reporting the voices of politicians, institutions and corporations (that finance them) are over-represented while those of environmental organizations are under-represented (Osservatorio di Pavia & Greenpeace, 2023). In the case of climate movements, we can see a tendency to infantilization, criminalisation, and depoliticisation (Zabern & Tulloch, 2020; Bergmann & Ossewaarde, 2020), also reinforced by politicians. All these forms of soft repression (Ferree, 2004) support hard forms of repression. The “Archives of the present” (“Archivi del presente”) project by the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation (Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli) is in continuity with the idea of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli: a documentation centre, opened in 1949, to collect the sources produced by the national and international movements of resistance, labour movements and movements involved in fights for social and political rights.The project stays in a middle ground between the archivism of public institutions and the archivism of social movements. On one hand, in line with the theorisations by Findlay (2016), the project rejects the myth of impartiality of archivism and recognises its political and even activism dimension. On the other hand, the project maintains professionalization and a certain degree of detachment from social movements in order to maintain the critical and independent attitude of Fondazione. The project has three goals. First, it wants to offer itself as a reference point for the preservation of sources produced by the protagonists of current social and political mobilizations, contributing to building alternatives public memories to the mainstream one. Secondly, it intends to launch a reflection on the enhancement and usability of the documentation produced by these collective subjects. Finally, it aims to amplify the voices of activists and raise public awareness of the practices of activation and political participation, potentially producing a multiplier effect. The focus of the first phase of the project (2023-2024) has been recent environmental movements active in Italy at the national scale, specifically Fridays for Future Italia, Extinction Rebellion Italia and Ultima Generazione. These actors have been invited to actively participate in the archival process. Three kinds of materials have been identified: received sources (digital-born documents, publications and physical artefacts from social movements), collected sources (webarchiving, socialmediarchiving, press review, academic and non-academic publications, interviews, artefacts), and produced materials (bibliography, sitography, socialmediagraphy, chronology of movements, diary of the research). The collected materials are freely available for consultation by anyone - in compliance with current legislation - at the Fondazione. The research will continue in the widening of the perimeter of investigation around contemporary climate movements, to deepen their historical roots the new forms of convergence with other struggles (e.g. World Congress For Climate Justice, Climate Social Camp, networks of movements…) and with the potential support of a systematic webarchiving, socialmediarchiving, and press review, if structural funding is secured. Moreover, a cycle of workshops will be organized to reflect on the subjects and sources of contemporary activism and the methods and practices of archiving the present. In a second phase, other social movements (e.g. related to feminism, pacifism, labour) will be included as well. Bibliography Bergmann, Z., & Ossewaarde, R. (2020). Youth climate activists meet environmental governance: ageist depictions of the FFF movement and Greta Thunberg in German newspaper coverage. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 15(3), 267–290. https://doi.org/10.1080/17447143.2020.1745211. Daphi, P., & Zamponi, L. (2019). Exploring the movement-memory nexus: Insights and ways forward. Mobilization, 24(4), 399–417. https://doi.org/10.17813/1086-671X-24-4-399. Ferree, M. M. (2004). Soft repression: ridicule, stigma, and silencing in gender-based movements. Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, 25, 85–101. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-786X(04)25004-2/FULL/XML Findlay, C. (2016). Archival activism. Archives and Manuscripts, 44(3), 155–159. https://doi.org/10.1080/01576895.2016.1263964. Osservatorio di Pavia & Greenpeace. (2023). L’informazione sulla crisi climatica in Italia. Rohlinger, D. A., & Corrigall-Brown, C. (2018). Social Movements and Mass Media in a Global Context. In D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule, H. Kriesi, & H. J. McCammon (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements (pp. 131–147). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119168577.CH7. Zabern, L. von, & Tulloch, C. D. (2020). Rebel with a cause: the framing of climate change and intergenerational justice in the German press treatment of the Fridays for Future protests: Media, Culture & Society, 43(1), 23–47. https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443720960923.
Fields of resistance: local communities repoliticising the terrain of food production
Irina Aguiari
Abstract
This paper dialogues with recent debates on the depoliticisation of environmental discourse. It questions process-oriented approaches that reduce the political condition to an immanent attribute, proposing a semiotic analysis as a way to transcend this limitation. I argue for a more fluid understanding of the political in agrifood movements working with the concept of (re)politicisation instead to grasp its transactional character. For the empirical analysis, I focus on the meaning-making processes of three Italian agricultural communities and ultimately suggest that linguistic forms and contents are mutually constitutive dimensions of politicisation. This proposition contributes to both theory and methodology, extending the debate on the political leverage of environmental initiatives in Europe and advocating for the use of participatory diagramming as a technique to understand political relationality in communitarian settings. Food can exert manifold influences on our bodies and minds, but also on society and the economy at large. The intricacies of food with the social, political and productive system we live in may quite exceed the range of impacts we normally envision. Since antiquity, socio-political and economic structures have been tightly intertwined and reciprocally impacted by dietary habits. The productive and distributive patterns thereby food is supplied are historically constitutive of differential power relations, social statuses, wealth and political authority. Concurrently, food has always represented a cultural practice that can convey cultures and materialise belonging within kinships. This ambivalence of food – its intrinsically intimate and personal connotation together with its profoundly public and collective implications – is often overlooked both by political actors and social scientists and arguably amidst the reasons why food has increasingly catalysed post-political discourses (Mouffe, 2005; Marchart, 2007). The impetus of food awareness in the European context of climate emergency mitigation and the green transition has sparked claims for more sustainable eating habits from a plethora of political actors. Most of these claims have identified food as a critical area for individual action collapsing the intimate and structural dimensions of food into simplistic claims for sustainable lifestylism and everyday politics (Pellizzoni, 2014). The awareness of how strictly food is connected to the wider neoliberal socio-economic system has been silenced in favour of normative discourses on individual choices and behaviours. It is what I define as the depoliticisation of food thereby the power relations, social conflicts and oppressions intertwined with the way we eat, produce and distribute food have been obscured. Nonetheless, food and agriculture have also nourished a dense network of grassroots collective initiatives throughout Europe that postulating the urgency to redesign the food system locally and proximally, have collectivized political responses. This is a tendency commonly observed in the case of climate emergency and youth activism, one that received dense interest in the academic literature (Kenis & Lievens, 2014). Hereby, I argue similar dynamics of depoliticisation and repoliticisation have been at play within the area of food and I aim at opening new research paths in this direction investigating whether and how local communities are resisting depoliticisation through their relational meaning-making on food as a political matter. Throughout the analysis, I move from substantialist conceptions of food and the political to relational ones that entail certain logics of meaning-making through constitutive relations of transactions rather than deterministic or co-deterministic causal relations. As a result, I transition towards a framework of food and politics as dynamic processes rather than predetermined variables. Empirically, the analysis involves three local agricultural communities in Italy engaging in community agriculture that is land commoning for food production. They are evenly distributed on the peninsular territory and have been selected for their longevity and representativeness within the landscape of food initiatives in Italy. They are Arvaia , a community-supported agriculture (CSA) project in Bologna founded in 2013; the mutual help space Bread&Roses active in Bari since 2016; Mondeggi in Florence, a community who occupied the homonym estate in 2014 to cultivate the land and prevent municipal authorities from selling it. All these communities took part in a participatory research methodology lasting over three years. Empirical results have been co-created together with community members through participatory diagramming and specifically through mind maps that capture the non-linear and collective semantic flows of each community (Wiley, 1994).
Intersectional Strategies for Climate Justice Activism by Indigenous Youth: From Vulnerability to Agency
Alexandra Budabin
Abstract
This paper focuses on the mobilization around climate change by indigenous youth at the international level. The dimension of youth as a new social actor has been increasingly important for climate justice claims (Morgan et al 2023, Thew et al 2020) as there is greater attention to intergenerational justice that elevates the implications of climate change for future generations. Indigenous youth exert a special positionality in the environmental movement (Grosse & Mark 2020, MacKay et al 2020) although they often face intersectional exclusion (Grosse and Mark 2020, Morgan et al 2023). Within the European landscape, Saami youth have taken on leading roles in pressing their own claims as a response (Şahin 2020). The main question is how indigenous youth are making claims as part of a negotiation of climate justice in transnational spaces and with what effect? How does the concept of intersectionality enable indigenous youth to underscore their unique vulnerabilities while also positioning themselves to center their claims and expand mobilization? This paper draws on participant observation at the United Nations, specifically, the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples, which is attended by indigenous peoples from around the world and has a dedicated Indigenous Youth Caucus. In 2024, the Permanent Forum focused on the voices of indigenous youth and there were over 100 youth activists in attendance. This paper explores the ways in which indigenous youth engage in climate justice activism are using the lens of intersectionality in their mobilization efforts at the international level not only to frame their claims but also advance efforts for inclusion and coalition building. This research builds on work that has explored how the concept of intersectionality is influencing collective action (Terriquez et al 2018, Einwohner et al 2019, Evans and Lepinard 2020) to in order to better understand the possibilities to confront and mobilize around multiple marginalities and oppressions while promoting collective identities. This work is also connected to intersectional analyses of climate change (Mikulewicz et al 2023, Kaijser & Kronsell 2014) that show how different groups are affected and also raises the possibility of building solidarity and agency to dismantle the oppressive structures faced by these groups. Linking studies on indigenous youth activism and environmental movements, this research aims to detect recent shifts in climate justice mobilization by indigenous youth through the lenses of structural intersectionality and political intersectionality, following Crenshaw (1991). This framing unpacks the different ways in which mobilizing groups like indigenous and minority youth bring intersectionality into rights discourses and new contexts (Marx Feree 2009). Adapting the conceptualization of intersectionality as an analytic and political strategy for movements (Roth 2021), this research explores how indigenous youth advance claims are using structural intersectionality in their framing work, to construct their positionality and discuss the compounding effects of ‘environmental’, ‘indigenous’, and/or ‘youth’ related vulnerabilities. This is reflected, for example, in language around barriers facing indigenous youth that is linked to land displacement. Further, they are also using political intersectionality in mobilization efforts, to build collective identities connecting indigenous youth around the world, frame their agenda, and achieve greater inclusion while addressing power asymmetries across groups. Language about indigenous youth as stewards and guardians with the responsibility to bear indigenous knowledge as well as calls for greater participation and inclusion reflect this use of intersectionality. In addition to participant observation, the paper conducts a frame analysis of UN Permanent Forum statements along with additional materials from key movement organizations for indigenous youth mobilization. This paper analyses these discourses and narratives through the lenses of political intersectionality and/or structural intersectionality and argues that this type of frame analysis can enable us to better understand how groups like indigenous youth are adopting an intersectional perspective as both an analytic and political strategy (Roth 2021) to not only re-interpret how their needs and vulnerabilities are represented but also in advancing mobilization and building environmental coalitions. This research will produce insights into the nature of participation of the new social actor of indigenous youth in climate justice activism as well as how this participation can influence movement strategies. This research is part of the project ClimAte JuStiCe and INtersectionality: from ADaptation to Transformation (ASCEND) based at Eurac Research, which explores climate justice approaches and dynamics through an intersectional lens.
Learning from small farmers on potentials and limits for the agroecological transition in Western Sicily: a participatory action research
Martina Lo Cascio
Abstract
Like many Mediterranean areas, the Italian island of Sicily is facing multiple environmental pressures such as soil loss, fire hazards, and extreme meteorological events with negative impacts on local food systems. In response to these threats, a re-thinking of local agriculture and natural resource management is becoming increasingly needed. Agroecology is known as a robust proposal for building more resilient food systems, grounded in small farmers' knowledge and practices. However, such valuable experiences struggle to operate and survive in Sicily because of unfavorable socio-cultural, environmental, and political-economic conditions. The key to supporting small-scale farmers in the agroecological transition is learning from them about the way they perceive, understand and overcome structural limits and environmental constraints. We approached the problem by adopting a participatory action research methodology, which involved selected groups of farmers in Western Sicily and some of the authors as scholar-activists. We build a participatory appraisal process using multiple qualitative methods resulting in a diagnosis of the resilience of the agroecological network involved in the study, by considering farmers' adaptation practices and identifying both vulnerabilities and strengths. The methodology identified possible leverage points for the agroecological transition in Western Sicily related to changing water supply and fire hazards management, to supporting small farmers' income and to disfavoring agribusiness systems, and to shifts in social practices related to food. Knowledge co-creation contributes to a transformative change toward the development of a participatory guarantee system, based on solidarity and knowledge exchange relations among farmers, scientists, urban residents, and social organizations. Throughout the process, small farmers enhance their awareness and ability to share the ecological and social values of their experiences. At the same time, scientists practiced new ways to overcome the mistrust barriers associated with top-down positionings, employing a participatory bottom-up assessment method that fosters trust, commitment and continuity.
The compelling narrative of civil disobedience. Ultima Generazione through pictures
Costanza Azzuppardi
Abstract
Part of a research thesis on the visual representation of the contemporary Italian climate justice movements (Fridays For Future, Extinction Rebellion and Ultima Generazione), the paper presents preliminary results from a visual content and narrative analysis conducted on the pictures collected from the Instagram account of the movement "Ultima Generazione". Visual codes’ use on social media platforms allows political actors, especially those non-institutionalised, such as social movements, to share and build information and reinforce and evolve identity thanks to the interactive communication available on social media platforms. In this sense, the dialogic nature of social media platforms permits the fast development of an identity that is open and closed at the same time. If, on the one hand, it is open to everyone in the sense of being shared on public and free platforms, on the other hand, it has to adapt to rules and constraints typical of those platforms to survive the algorithm. Online communication has a long history of integrating and supporting visual material in various forms. Focusing on the image allows us to explore experiences in a world of cross-mediation through culturally meaningful visual forms, codes, and dynamics. As routine narrative devices, on social media platforms, image-building is a central aspect of societal communication. Visual narratives are the favoured instrument for political actors and the general public to tell stories about themselves, each other, and the rest of the world through the images they share on social media. Furthermore, the competing nature of the digital medium makes visual narrative the perfect choice for any actor who strives to catch the attention of the preferred audience. New technologies contributed more and more to the subjugation of representation to impressions as character traits, physical appearance, or non-verbal appearance. The way an image is interpreted passes through a complex system of personal repertoires of cultural experiences and rhetorical forms around which a culture exists and circulates. In analysing images, a first attempt should look at some features of the image as a communicative message, trying to identify some processes via which images generate, affirm, or reproduce meanings, frames, and identities within a culture. The interpretation of visual content demonstrates that complex cultural codes are employed in meaning explanation both by the producer and receiver. Thus, the problem with images is that they are open text, potentially polysemic. Therefore, the visual analysis’ task is to spot the complexity of visual culture and the semiotic expressed to find available intertextual associations. In social sciences and, in particular, social movements studies, images have always been a central medium to the "contentious construction of reality" (Mattoni and Teune 2014) and come with a complex stock of cultural knowledge, experiences, frames, and emotions. Undoubtedly, the visual forms in which movements express themselves matter (Doerr, Mattoni and Teune 2015). So, this paper hopes to contribute to deepening this research field. Furthermore, it wishes to contribute to advancing a method that systematically investigates visual political content. The analysis will be developed starting with the explanation of the content and narrative analysis. Since visual analysis is still a grey area in qualitative study, I will also exemplify how I adapt and apply the methods according to the needs of my research project. Secondly, I will delve into the data analysis, starting by providing descriptive information concerning the main elements of the visual contents by UG. Lastly, I will explore the narrative reconstruction and the longitudinal analysis of the movement’s visual communication, from an Extinction Rebellion campaign to the international A22 network.
 

Panel 5.7 Workers Struggles and Participation in the Post-Pandemic Era: between unionism and social movements


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the global workforce, with many workers experiencing job loss, reduced hours, and increased health risks (World Economic Forum 2020). As businesses navigate through the economic fallout of the pandemic (Ranger, Mahul, and Monasterolo 2021), there is an urgent need to explore the strategies that workers have adopted to demand fair treatment and better working conditions (della Porta 2022). Labor market dynamics during and after the pandemic reduced job quality, security, and increased the need for greater social protections for workers (della Porta 2021) and the pandemic has highlighted systemic challenges underlying labor market dynamics, including the growing income inequality, the rise of precarious work, and unemployment (Gall 2020, Harvey 2021, della Porta, Chesta and Cini 2023). Finally, while the pandemic has resulted in a reduction in the impact of pollution by shrinking economic activities, it also highlighted the urgent need for profound changes to mitigate climate change (Gupta, Rouse, and Sarangi 2021). The costs of this necessary environmental transition, however, fall often on workers and marginalized communities (Andretta, Gabbriellini, and Imperatore 2023).

Despite these challenges, workers have continued to mobilize and organize, advocating for their rights and demanding greater participation in decision-making processes (Azzellini 2021, 2022, della Porta 2021, ILO Working Paper 83 2022; Pilati and Perra 2022). In some cases, workers have turned to alternative modes of organization, either due to the absence of traditional trade union organizations (Chesta et al., 2019; Cini and Goldmann, 2020; Tassinari and Maccarone, 2020; Atzeni, 2021) or by taking over the representative structures of their workplaces (Cini, 2021; Andretta and Imperatore, forthcoming). A central theme of this panel, therefore, is the manner in which workers have organized themselves in light of job instability, layoffs, and the growth of precarious employment during the post-pandemic period.
Furthermore, in order to adapt to evolving socio-economic circumstances, workers were compelled to engage in a variety of collective actions that exceeded traditional strike activities (Leonardi and Pedersini, forthcoming, ILO Working Paper 83 202). They were required to participate in various domains such as politics, industrial relations, and bargaining, spanning multiple levels including transnational, national, and local, utilizing diverse strategies (Trongone 2022). Another theme of this panel is thus to examine the various repertoires employed by workers and their respective roles in different arenas and levels.
An additional aspect to be considered is the way that worker mobilizations reframed struggles and to what extent they tended to radicalize critiques of the current political and economic relations (Johnson, 2017). The analysis of emerging workers’ framing and claims is encouraged in this panel.
Finally, the need to participate in different arenas can lead workers to ally with other social movements or community organizations. The panel strongly supports analyzing the structure of these alliances, including dynamics of social movement unionism, another important aspect of worker mobilization.

The panel welcomes submissions from scholars in all relevant fields, including labor and social movements studies, political sociology, political science, industrial relations. We encourage submissions of conceptual and/or theoretically-informed empirical studies that utilize diverse methodological approaches, including qualitative, quantitative research, or mixed methods on single case studies, or comparative analyses.

Chairs: Massimiliano Andretta, Katia Pilati

Labor mobilization and political parties’ responsiveness
Elisabetta Girardi, Massimiliano Andretta
Abstract
For decades, inequality has been spreading in post-industrial societies, intensifying the need and demand for state intervention to reduce income disparities and provide citizens with alternative means of welfare beyond continuous labor market participation. Have political parties responded by enhancing their commitment to redistribution and welfare state expansion? If so, under what conditions? In this article, we hypothesize that party responsiveness is conditional on the level of labor mobilization through protests. We test this hypothesis empirically by implementing regression inference techniques on a combined dataset that includes information on parties' programmatic positioning, protest events, levels of inequality, and citizens' preferences for redistribution across a large sample of European democracies from 2000 to 2015. Our research is normatively justified: previous studies have shown a significant disconnect between the policies promoted and implemented by parties and governments and the preferences of low-income citizens; understanding the conditions that enhance their responsiveness is a critical step toward addressing this democratic deficit.
Labour and political (dis)engagement in the logistics sector: From individual social identities to collective (in)actions?
Tommaso Pio Danese, Andrea Signoretti
Abstract
The literature on work in the logistics sector presents several limitations. First, it is characterized by a prevalence of descriptive research and case studies. Second, research is filtered by the experience of researchers and by a “fetishism of the trade union form” (Atzeni, 2021). Third, existing research is featured by an inconsistency in the levels of analysis of logistics due to different ways of viewing logistics and logistic jobs, in particular by including subsectors that instead could be also included in other sectors, as shown by the research on food delivery. Fourth, there is a lack of research on the individual perceptions of labour, of the forms (or lack of) of political engagement, and on individual agency. Fifth, the literature on logistic labour lacks interdisciplinary research. In this context, we partly start to fill these gaps by exploring the micro level in the logistics sector. We particularly aim to examine individual forms of political resistance and participation by workers employed in the logistics sector, a sector characterized by low union density, and labour passivity, in contrast to existing empirical research in the logistics sector that has mostly explored collective struggles in contexts with high union density and history of conflict, and thus overlooking contexts. Hence, why do workers in this specific industry lack sustained forms of political engagement? Scholars have discussed a number of factors that may hinder and prevent political engagement and political action, including contextual factors such as the complex nature of global commodity chains (Sowers et al., 2018), the dual employment strategy, the universal system of casualized employment (Zanoni & Miszczyński, 2023), anti-democratic laws against unions (Şahin & Tepe, 2018), attacks on activists and activists’ exhaustion for the shift system (Amazon workers and supporters, 2018), or workers' features such as linguistic and cultural diversity (Cioce et al., 2023). They also emphasized tensions between workers’ organizations, environmental groups, and politics (Sowers et al., 2018), and organizational features, such as high labour turnover (Amazon workers and supporters, 2018), the management of deskilled workers through algorithmic systems, enforcement of social norms of interpersonal respect, non-selective hiring of workers (Zanoni & Miszczyński, 2023), establishment of separate businesses and transferral of unionized workers (Şahin & Tepe, 2018), and the hiring of workers considered more docile, novel technologies and automation to increase control on workers (Benvegnù & Cuppini, 2018, p. 237). Therefore, less attention has been devoted to workers’ subjective understanding of political engagement. Thus, we aim to focus on workers’ sensemaking processes about labour and politics to assess their link to political engagement and union membership or lack of. The two research questions at the basis of this paper are the following: A) How do logistics workers enact the meaning of labour and politics in a context characterized by low union density? B) What types of resistance or resignation can we observe? The empirical study is based on 50 semi-structured interviews with warehouse workers in the province of Bari. Logistics in the province of Bari is characterized by low union density and different features in terms of workers identities and political engagement compared to other contexts that have been explored in Italy in the past, which especially focused in Northern Italy (Atzeni & Cini, 2023; Benvegnú et al., 2018; Cillo & Pradella, 2018; Cini & Goldmann, 2021; Cini & Tassinari, 2018). Preliminary results based on interviews with key informants and workers in the province of Bari, confirm the disaffection from politics and a lack of political engagement based on “routine” voting and the perception of futility of protests.
Power resources, territory and labour conflicts: a relational perspective on the Mondo Convenienza struggle
Marco Antonelli, Donatella Della Porta
Abstract
The article analyses the use of various power resources by different actors intervening during (t times successful) protest campaigns against extreme forms of labour exploitation, particularly in the logistics and service sector. Relying upon an approach to power resources that helps bridging social movement studies with labour sociology, we examine the various protest campaigns which, in recent years, have involved workers (often migrants) dealing with transport, porterage and assembly at the Mondo Convenienza company operating in furniture sales in Italy. From the theoretical point of view, we suggest that the literature on resource mobilization in social movement studies and the one on power resources in labour sociology provides analytic instruments for understanding new forms of mobilization of workers by bridging the two fields. In order to understand these ‘mobilizations against the odds’ we develop a relational perspective which considers a) multiple resources, going well beyond the traditional focus on structural and associational ones and including not only institutional but also societal; b) used by different actors, including, besides grassroots trade unions, also social movement organizations rooted in the territory; c) who develop multiple strategies, d) with differential compositional effects in the different conflict arenas. These resources should be considered as e) mobilized in action, developing during the protest campaigns. Within this theoretical framework, these emerging protests can be understood as struggles for recognition, not only aiming at material gains, but also contributing to the formation of collective identities. Allowing to look at the interactions of different protest campaigns, rooted in diverse contexts, the analysis of labour conflicts within Mondo Convenienza provides interesting analytical cues to an empirical study on how different resources of power are mobilized in the various moments of struggle, observing both how some actors were able to combine and multiply them, but also how, at times, frictions emerged between different players in the complex arenas. In particular, the research shows the importance of the territorial contexts in which the various actors are rooted, drawing solidarity, but also identification. The study is part of a broader research program on workers' mobilisations against conditions of extreme labour exploitation in Italy. On the Mondo Convenienza case, after having mapped the protest events, following a qualitative approach, we collected daily press reviews, press releases and statements related to the labour campaigns as well as conducting 25 in depth interviews with various actors. The empirical material has been analysed through multiple readings aimed at identifying the main thematic areas. After setting the theoretical model and shortly presenting the research design, the empirical sections of the article address the complex set of actors involved in the protests (old and new unionism but also other worker’s collectives mobilized on the same territory; individuals and social movement organizations defined as the “solidarians”, and local institutions); the multiple repertoires of action (including long strikes and permanent pickets, as well as open assemblies, cultural events, and social activities) and their connections with the emergence of collective identities.
Reclaiming Dignity in the Age of Precarity: Worker-Led Resistance and the Reimagining of Labour Relations after COVID-19
Elsa N Kariuki
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the deep-seated vulnerabilities and inequities that have long permeated the world of work, brutally exacerbating the precarious conditions experienced by millions of workers globally. From the overcrowded and unsafe factories of the Global South to the gig economy workers subsisting on poverty wages in the industrialized North, the public health crisis has amplified the systemic devaluation and disposability of labour under contemporary capitalism. As lockdowns, layoffs, and the collapse of essential social protections have ravaged worker livelihoods, the true costs of eroding labour rights, the financialisation of the economy, and the prioritization of profit and shareholder value over human welfare have been brutally revealed over time. Yet, in the wake of this upheaval, workers have responded with a renewed determination to reclaim their dignity and challenge the dehumanizing forces that have reduced them to mere factors of production. Across diverse national contexts and industrial sectors, we have witnessed the flowering of worker-led resistance movements that seek to reassert their autonomy, their right to decent work, and their fundamental humanity in the face of the relentless march of capitalist rationality. From strikes and collective bargaining to community-based campaigns and political mobilization, these worker-driven initiatives have begun to reimagine the very nature of labour relations, actively contesting the normalization of precarity and the erosion of the social wage. This paper examines the diverse strategies and tactics employed by worker-led movements in the post-pandemic era as they strive to resist the ongoing erosion of hard-won labour rights and to reimagine more just, equitable, and dignified labour relations. Drawing on a critical theory framework that foregrounds the dialectical relationship between structure and agency, the analysis situates these worker-led struggles within the broader context of the neoliberal transformation of work over recent decades - a process characterized by the proliferation of temporary, part-time, and gig employment, the sustained weakening of trade union power and collective bargaining, and the relentless intensification of managerial control and surveillance over the workforce. Through a comparative case study approach, the paper explores how workers have creatively deployed a multifaceted repertoire of resistance tactics in their efforts to challenge this dehumanizing neoliberal order. From strikes and collective bargaining to community-based campaigns, political mobilization, and the construction of alternative economic models, these worker-led initiatives have sought to redefine the very boundaries of worker agency and collective empowerment. In doing so, they have challenged the normalization of precarity, insecurity, and disposability that has come to define the lived experience of labour under contemporary capitalism, while also advancing alternative visions of work that prioritize human dignity and the democratic control of production. Particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, which unveiled the fragilities that permeate the world of work, these worker-driven movements have taken on an added urgency and importance. They represent a vital front in the struggle to reclaim the moral, political, and emancipatory dimensions of labour, asserting the fundamental humanity and autonomy of workers in the face of the relentless commodification and subjugation of the workforce under neoliberal capitalism. Theoretically, the paper engages with the work of a diverse array of critical theorists and labour scholars who have illuminated the centrality of recognition and redistribution in the broader struggle for social emancipation such as Axel Honneth, David Autor, Raquel Varela and Nidhi Srinivas, who have documented the structural shifts in the nature of work under neoliberal capitalism - including the proliferation of precarious, temporary, and gig employment, the weakening of trade unions and collective bargaining power, and the intensification of managerial control. The analysis situates the worker-led resistance movements examined in the paper within the broader context of these systemic transformations, highlighting how they represent crucial sites of struggle against the dehumanizing forces of contemporary capitalism. The paper further draws on the works of Silvia Federici and Nancy Fraser, who have theorized the intersections between the politics of recognition and the politics of redistribution. It explores how the worker-led initiatives under study have sought to forge more holistic approaches to labour organizing, ones that address not only the material dimensions of worker exploitation but also the complex web of socioeconomic and cultural forces that have historically devalued certain categories of labour. The paper considers the intersections between worker-led resistance and other social movements, such as those focused on racial justice, gender equality, and environmental sustainability, and explores how these convergences have contributed to the development of more transformative approaches to labour organizing, which seek to address the multifaceted nature of worker exploitation and oppression. By illuminating the diverse ways in which workers across various national and sectoral contexts are mobilizing to reclaim their dignity and actively reimagine the future of labour relations in the post-pandemic landscape, this paper offers crucial insights for labour scholars, activists, and policymakers grappling with the challenges posed by the neoliberal transformation of work. In a period marked by the proliferation of precarious employment, the erosion of collective bargaining power, and the relentless commodification of labour, the worker-led resistance movements examined in this study represent vital sites of struggle against the dehumanizing forces of contemporary capitalism.
 

Panel 5.10 Ambivalences of the professionalization of public participation: a comparison between international experiences


The panel aims to discuss the ambivalences surrounding the professionalization of participatory and deliberative processes, focusing on the roles of participation practitioners and expert agencies in supporting these processes and advocating for them. Since the ’90s, the emergence of modes of participatory governance and collaborative policymaking has led to the implementation of regulatory mechanisms for democratic innovation across various administrative levels, fostering institutionalized forms of public participation within an interactive state framework. Such models have evolved to include forms of active citizenship and community self-organizing for the preservation/regeneration of commons.
Public participation professionals have been tasked with orchestrating a diverse array of participatory pathways, assuming roles such as process designers, multidisciplinary team coordinators, facilitators, conflict mediators, community organizers, and enablers. New profiles of expertise and potential clients have emerged, giving rise to a market and professionalization of public participation. However, participatory processes – aimed at facilitating the dialogue between techno-expert, political and ordinary knowledge – are under scrutiny because of the roles of the professionals and the rules of their engagement.
The panel seeks theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions that shed light on the specific roles of practitioners in participatory and deliberative processes, while reflecting on the democratic vision embedded within different participatory practices. As participatory processes represent active exercises of democratic rights, it is essential to examine the technical, professional, and market dimensions from a democratic perspective, to discern their impact on the democratic essence of these practices.
The panel also hosts comparative papers and in-depth case study that explore:
- the contribution of participation professionals from different countries to the global movement advocating for the dissemination and consolidation of substantive participatory and deliberative processes;
- the way in which participation professionals and the commodification of services related to civic dialogue contribute to rhetorical or manipulative forms of participation;
- the challenging innovations and criticalities of academic research committed to the University Third Mission public service, devoted to supporting or consulting for public engagement processes.

Chair and discussants: Francesca Gelli (IUAV, Italy), Ilaria Casillo (Université Gustave Eiffel, EUP) and Giovanni Allegretti (CES/UC, Portugal)

Chairs: Giovanni Allegretti, Francesca Gelli

Il ruolo dei network di ricerca nelle policy sui beni comuni urbani
Giuseppe Micciarelli
Abstract
La ricerca scientifica svolge un ruolo centrale, e forse peculiare, nel discorso sui commons. Si pensi all’approccio di Elinor Ostrom, i cui design principles sono frutto dell’analisi comparata di successi e fallimenti di numerosi casi studio di autorganizzazione ed uso di risorse comuni, individuati in diverse parti del mondo. La sua analisi non è rivolta soltanto alla conoscenza del fenomeno, ma è anche esplicitamente orientata all’elaborazione di strategie per la loro difesa, all’individuazione di meccanismi per il loro corretto funzionamento e di strumenti per il community and institutional building. Un aspetto interessante, come vedremo non isolato, è che questo tipo di ricerca case based tende a svilupparsi e costituire percorsi di ricerca collettivi per riuscire ad intervenire, e influire, sul funzionamento dei casi studiati. Di nuovo, si pensi all’imprinting che Ostrom ha dato all’International Association for the Study of the Commons o al Center in Political Theory and Policy Analysis (oggi Ostrom Workshop) presso l’Indiana University. Nel paper ci interrogheremo su come le professionalità del mondo della ricerca si incrocino e impattino su alcuni aspetti partecipativi e di innovazione democratica che riguardano i beni comuni. In particolare, rifletteremo su come, nel rapporto tra istituzioni e commoners, ci sia uno spazio in cui l’expertise giuridico-politica è cruciale per l’implementazione delle policy e dei regolamenti per la gestione condivisa ovvero partecipata dei beni comuni urbani. Mostreremo come questo ruolo negli ultimi dodici anni, in Italia, sia stato svolto principalmente da network, diversamente formalizzati, di studiosi e ricercatori. Alcuni esempi che verranno presi in considerazione sono: la “Commissione Redigente dei beni comuni”, cd. “seconda Commissione Rodotà”; “Labsus – Laboratorio per la sussidiarietà”; “Labgov - Laboratory for the Governance of the City as a Commons”; si considereranno anche alcune forme spurie di networking di ricerca: o perché ibridate con la partecipazione diretta degli attivisti, come nel caso della “Rete dei beni comuni emergenti e ad uso civico” o il “Collettivo Euronomade – inventare il Comune sovvertire il presente”; o perché istituzionalizzate e attraversate anche da altre expertise nel campo economico, politico e sociale, come nel caso dell’“Osservatorio permanente sui beni comuni e la democrazia partecipativa della città di Napoli”. Considereremo, dunque, da una parte il loro design, nel senso dell’organizzazione, motivazione, interesse, composizione, modi di consulenza, advocacy e affiancamento sia nei confronti delle istituzioni sia delle comunità di cittadini che gestiscono i beni comuni. Dall’altra, considereremo il loro tipo di intervento rispetto alle cinque fasi di policy: agenda setting, iniziativa, drafting, implementazione e valutazione. Le considerazioni che emergeranno ci condurranno a due nodi che crediamo rilevanti. Il primo riguarda i modi con cui i network di ricerca “posizionati”, ovvero le forme di activist research, interagiscono con i processi che studiano e al tempo stesso li supportano, affrontando in modo diverso i problemi di bias cognitivo. Evidenzieremo una questione particolarmente urgente negli studi sul macro-mondo della partecipazione: l’estrattivismo accademico. Citeremo quindi alcuni approcci che possono contrastarlo, come la con-ricerca, la strategy of avocation, la radical imagination, l’uso creativo del diritto e il political e legal hacking. In particolare, gli ultimi due approcci ci porteranno al secondo nodo: come (e se ancora a tutt’oggi) la conoscenza accademica sia in grado di incidere e orientare i meccanismi di funzionamento della realtà socio-politica. Il caso dei beni comuni è di nuovo paradigmatico. Difatti, anche se questi si possono considerare beyond the State and the Market, non vi sono impermeabili. Ciò significa che i commons si muovono in uno spazio in cui vigono le regole di Stato e mercato, e qui intercettano non solo altri sistemi normativi, ma anche expertise e competenze portatrici di visioni culturali e ideologiche contrastanti. Queste sono espressione del nesso sapere-potere, che si struttura non solo nel campo delle discipline e della società, ma anche nella grammatica istituzionale, orientandone principi di funzionamento e regole di condotta. La Pubblica Amministrazione è strutturata, a volte ingabbiata, in saperi che possono essere invisibili agli occhi dei cittadini non esperti, e possono entrare in conflitto sia con le differenti expertise di cui a loro volta le sfere della cittadinanza sono portatrici, sia con le forme organizzative di cui la cittadinanza si dota, che rispondono a diverse logiche, norme e valori. Questo produce contrasti sulle policy e la governance dei processi partecipativi, particolarmente evidenti del commoning urbano. Si pensi ad esempio alle interpretazioni più ortodosse dei principi di imparzialità, buon andamento e trasparenza della PA, che indirizza il sistema di assegnazione dei beni attraverso bandi di gara e simili procedure competitive; all’abuso della sussidiarietà orizzontale, che garantisce servizi di welfare a basso costo per gli enti locali e massimo sforzo per i cittadini attivi che li erogano; o infine ai criteri di messa a reddito monetaria degli immobili che fanno parte del patrimonio disponibile, che frappongono numerosi ostacoli al loro uso e gestione da parte dei cittadini organizzati. I regolamenti dei beni comuni non riescono a sciogliere questi nodi, che pure influiscono indirettamente, ma in modo profondo, sui processi che delineano. Come può la ricerca affrontarli? Si concluderà con alcuni esempi e sfide che l’engagement prodotto attraverso l’hackeraggio politico giuridico può offrire su questi scenari.
Overturning participation paradigm: from grassroots to institution. The case of ecological planning in East Rome
Stefano Simoncini, Luca Brignone
Abstract
Rescaling processes of economic and productive systems prompted by globalization (Brenner, 1999), not being followed by a counterpart rearrangement of multilevel governance on a global scale, have progressively eroded, in Western democracies, the power and legitimacy of the institutions of representative democracy. The eclipse of “party democracy” (Manin, 1993) and the decline in reliance on the ability of the leading classes to guarantee the public interest against the pressures of large interest groups (Bobbio, Pomatto, 2007), also reverberate on the reliability, credibility and effectiveness of traditional instruments of spatial government (Florio, 2010). Within this framework, planning-participation binomial has become institutionalized, not without strong underlying ambiguities: in urban planning technique, tools such as Urban Redevelopment Programs (Pru) and Neighborhood Contracts have attempted to provide for stable citizen involvement in urban redevelopment and regeneration interventions. These and other instruments, having represented advanced and innovative experiments have at the same time allowed critical aspects and ambiguities to be highlighted, such as the lack of representativeness and capacity to include social categories excluded from decision-making processes, the risk of anesthetizing conflicts through mediation, instrumentally for the legitimization of decisions already made, or that of constituting a substitute for public action, functional to a mere outsourcing of public services at a lower cost. In general, the prevailing approaches have been conservative of the “political demand model” and functional to obtaining the prior consent of the most prominent actors (Crosta, 2010). This contribution reports the outcomes of a case study carried out as part of a dual action-research (Lambert-Pennington, Saija, 2020) in the territory of the eastern periphery of Rome, the urban axis characterized by the greatest social and environmental imbalances. The research was conducted by the authors as part of the Urban Studies Laboratory “Territori dell'abitare” (LabSU) of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Sapienza University of Rome. The aim of the research, according to the approach promoted by LabSU (Brignone et. Al., 2022), was to test a participatory model that would overturn the perspective traditionally adopted by the Roman administration, which begins with institutional proposals and only later confronts the inhabitants (i.e., the political demand model). Instead, the LabSU approach proposed to build on the knowledge, projects and practices of the social networks already engaged in the territories in order to 'scale' and translate them into integrated urban regeneration projects, adopting the paradigm of “participatory experimental urbanism” (Thompson and Lorne, 2023). The first action-research was aimed at co-planning with inhabitants a green infrastructure called “Green Crown of East Rome”. This path revealed a striking gap between the strategic planning of socio-ecological networks (Bodin et al., 2020) and those of local government. LabSU's second path of action-research, slightly more recent than the first, instead concerns the institutional side, within the framework of an agreement with the Department of Urban Planning of the Municipallity of Rome for the development of "neighborhood workshops" in the Roman peripheries. One of these workshops aims to intervene in a sub-area of the “Green Crown” to contribute to the participatory definition of its implementation planning, as well as forms of management involving active citizens, nonprofit organizations or local social enterprises by providing for the activation of collaborative local economies. The dual action-research work carried out in the eastern suburbs of Rome allows us to test the effectiveness of a process based on the structural integration of socio-ecological networks in policy-making and on the overall reconfiguration of urban planning and development models. To this end, it is considered necessary to prepare adequate contexts and participation tools which, starting from a critical knowledge of the current socio-spatial impacts of ICT, integrate face-to-face interactions and online interactions from a process perspective. Putting self-sustainability at the centre, this new approach involves the systematic involvement of citizens in an integrated co-creation process that incorporates both participation in ecological planning and co-management of natural and cultural heritage. The approach adopted was that of strengthening socio-ecological networks through the use of "civic technologies" and the possible harmonization of bottom-up initiatives with those from above in the perspective of common goods - without however canceling or ignoring conflicts between values of use and exchange values ​​of urban space. Faced with the critical issues that emerged on both sides, public and self-organized, the research highlights the need to imagine new spaces (and probably new subjects for new spaces) of interlocution, comparison, coordination, co-creation and conflict in the development of urban policies, from their definition to their implementation. For a new approach to urban policies, it is necessary, on the one hand, to overturn the paradigm of local authorities intervention, from the "project" understood only in a technical-administrative sense, to the social and territorial process rooted in the self-produced knowledge of the inhabitants. On the other, to imagine, innovate and build new multi-actor and multi-level land management tools to create the necessary spaces for confrontation and conflict. The idea developed by LabSU is to borrow and adapt some existing tools, such as "River Contracts", to the topic of planning, design and management of natural systems. “Ecological Contracts” conceived not only as a tool of land governance, but also as permanent laboratories of political pedagogy.
Reactor Montevideo. Urban Laboratories and Associate governance, third mission and deliberative democracy in Uruguay - A. Latina
Adriana Goni Mazzitelli
Abstract
Since the approval of the Territorial Planning and Sustainable Development Law (LOTDS Law 18,308, of 2008), Uruguay entered a new planning cycle. After centuries of a Latin American extractivist model that left a negative urban expansion of its capital Montevideo, by environmental degradation, socio-territorial segmentation, and the precariousness of the habitat with infrastructural deficiencies. The urban agenda of the capital of Uruguay inaugurate a planning system based on multilevel governance, environmental guarantees, and promotion of participation. At the same time, in 2005 the cycle of left-wing national governments , approved in 2010 the Law of Decentralization and Citizen Participation giving greater power to the third level, the districts. However, these intentions are located in 20th century signed by the processes of opening, deregulation and structural adjustment, which established new roles for a State that retracted its leadership over economies focused on the national scale and the cushioning of class conflicts. State projects were located within dynamics of reterritorialization and rescaling in dialogue with the global operational landscapes of capital. As Neil Brenner points out, “it is no longer capital that is to be molded in the (territorially integrated) geography of state space, but rather state space that must be molded in the (territorially differentiated) geography of capital” (Brenner, 2004). ). In Latin America, the new urban governance implied promoting territorial competitiveness and public-private agreements, within the framework of processes of administrative decentralization or promotion of local development. Urban planning became “strategic” and the city, particularly the large metropolises, were approached from fragmentary figures of planning and project that linked the public and private sectors (Novick, 2006, 2009). Territorial transformations are understood as a political arena where interests and models of socio-economic development are disputed, the way to fundamentally consider State-private agreements, throughout the continent, have proven ineffective in reducing social inequalities and mitigating the poverty and environmental degradation (Rolnik, 2020). The Urban Planning that the city of Montevideo has experienced since the 1990s deliberative processes that include civil society, but have not yet been institutionalized as multi stakeholders planning. We can mention consultative figures such as the “tables” or multi-stakeholder work areas that study exceptions or modifications to urban planning regulations or figures that follow the coordination after the preparation of IOTDS such as the Urban Plan Management Councils. On the one hand we find the Plan Goes Urban Renewal with many Programs, (urban regeneration in the center of the city), and a couple of experiences of Plans for peripheral areas of high social and environmental complexity, such as the Program of the Cañada de Casavalle Basin or the Chacarita Plan, both equipped with local Councils as deliberative bodies for managing the plan. In the 21st century, a new alliance is proposed, that of the public sphere with the social, as a path of experimentation (Dardot and Laval, 2012) in the safeguarding of the common. Citizen participation, and the opening of territorial planning systems to deliberative processes, are claimed as central aspects of these new alliances. On the one hand, the need to generate guarantees of public control, and reinforce social interest over the merely speculative interests of private parties in urban development. On the other hand, expand the “minima” instruments such as public hearings and disclosures that are informative and advisory. The Municipality of Montevideo and the University of the Republic are carrying out research on the advances and experiments of collaborative planning models, as well as associated management in various urban territories. The review constitutes a moment to understand what resources the city government would need to open planning instruments as deliberative and collaborative environments. The Montevideo Reactor Program was created to reactivate empty buildings and abandoned neighborhoods in the city center in terms of the design and management of an Urban Ecosystem of Common Goods. During the planning and co-design process of Strategies, Plans, projects and programs, the Urban Laboratories are established, here the third university mission enters strongly into the transdisciplinary experimentation of languages and methods of popular education that can incorporate the knowledge of others actors to the planning process. Then, in the management phase, Public-Social Associated Management, both are studying a new institutional engineering, to understand with what resources and how to engage in dialogue at the different levels of government, municipality, mayor's office, national level. In other countries in the region such as Argentina, there are figures that promote the mandatory response to citizens' concerns, that create deliberative processes between the parties that enables informed discussion and deliberation on major works. These allows the associations of inhabitants request participatory processes to be opened regarding certain proposals that negatively impact their territories. It is considered that there is still a legal vacuum in Uruguay imagining, designing and implementing deliberative figures for citizen participation in the preparation and implementation of Territorial Planning Instruments. This is a cause of conflict, dissatisfaction and weakening of democracy, as people do not feel protected by the laws in force, and do not recognize the spaces that are intended for exchange as valid and adequate by not providing guarantees for the right to have their opinions into account. This presentation aims to recognize advances and setbacks in the deliberative processes of territorial planning at Montevideo.
The invisible servants of participatory democracy - A study of public agents of participation within Belgian public administrations
Jehan Bottin
Abstract
In the context of the tensions surrounding contemporary representative democracies, participatory mechanisms are being developed to increase citizens' political participation. Despite the proliferation of these mechanisms, their impact on decision-making processes remains limited. This thesis explores the growing role of public officials in the organisation of such systems and in the implementation of their products. Based on 41 semi-structured interviews – mainly with public officials – and on direct observations, this research highlights the incompatibility between the professional administrative culture and the development of citizen participation. In addition, this research proposes an original typology of public officials involved in citizen participation in Belgium and an inventory of services dedicated to participation within municipal administrations located in the Brussels-Capital Region.
 

Panel 5.11 The production structure of the contemporary far right


The far right has generally moved from oppositional force to control over the last four decades. Yet, the strategies underlying this success continue eluding public scrutiny and scholarly attention. Approaching far-right politics as a phenomenon in continuous evolution prompts us to treat it as a dynamic process; understanding its fortunes as a long-term counterhegemonic project draws attention to the changes unfolding in its midst. At the strategic level, the far right is trying to replace the liberal order at the national and international level. Counterhegemonic projects proceed from the ground up, first seeking societal penetration and then moving on to institutional capture. This panel seeks to attract contributions looking at the first stages of such projects, and thus focus on non-institutional manifestations of far-right politics. It pays particular but nonexclusive attention to the ‘production structure’ of nativist parties, movements, and groups, including: a) the grassroots sector as locus of non-electoral participation, knowledge production, activists’ socialisation, and candidate selection; and b) movement-electoral interactions as mechanisms of bottom-up influence on institutional politics as well as exchanges between extremist and radical politics. The panel is open to comparative and case-study empirical contributions relying on established as well as innovative methods tackling the decisions, strategies, mechanisms, and processes unfolding within the far right.

Chairs: Andrea L. P. Pirro

For Family Values, against 'Gender' – Illiberal Movement Parties in Southeast Europe
Ivan Tranfic
Abstract
The dominant approach to studying the far right in Europe has centered around a specific party family – the populist radical right – and its core ideology of nativism. In recent years, increasing attention has also been given to the relations between political parties and social movements by scholars in various fields, including the conceptualization of the hybrid movement party. In this paper, I look into an underresearched subsector of the far right that mobilizes as illiberal, anti-gender movements. The latter form their own ultraconservative movement parties that center their politics around issues of gender, sexuality, and religion. Whereas the literature on far-right (movement) parties mostly focuses on actors centering anti-immigration in their exclusionary politics, the increasingly rich literature on anti-gender movements has overlooked the creation of new illiberal movement parties mobilizing against 'gender' for 'family values'. I employ a comparative case study of three Southeast European cases, namely, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Serbia, to investigate how and why these new illiberal movement parties develop, and what the role of religious actors – churches and lay movements – is in this process. I conducted 43 semi-structured interviews with leaders of anti-gender NGOs and political parties in the three cases, which allowed me to inquire about their perception of political and discursive opportunity structures and strategic decision-making, including why they decided to take the electoral turn, and how they combine institutional politics with street mobilization. My findings point to the central importance of religious, lay movements, church-state-society relations, and general party system dynamics on the right side of the political spectrum. Whereas Orthodox Christian Right actors are less likely to utilize grassroots mobilization and prefer collaborating with the state and existing far-right parties, Catholic actors developed a strong ultraconservative civil society that birthed its own movement parties, challenging the center-right pro-EU moderates. In all three cases, the emergence of illiberal movement parties is explained with the following narrative: since the mainstream right does not stand for traditional, Christian values regarding morality and sexuality policies anymore, a new political bulwark is needed against the onslaught of ‘left-liberal’ radicals, secularization, 'gender ideology' and moral relativism. The paper argues for the importance of internalist research of far-right actors, demonstrating that existing explanations focusing on backlash and countermovement theory that homogenize the right-wing camp should be amended by a closer look at the internal dynamics in a broader right-wing sector, its conflicts and heterogeneity.
Friends or Foes? Different Paths of Far-Right Party-Movement Coalitions in the UK and Germany
Ziyi Huang
Abstract
With a dark history of close collaboration in the rise of interwar fascism and the post-war transformation, the interactions between far-right parties and the broader movement are usually portraited as secret collusion or leadership quarrels and fierce power struggle and research on these exchanges is hard, if not impossible due to their secrecy. In the aftermath of 9/11, some emergent trends in far-right politics have revitalized this topic. On the one hand, the new momentum from far-right activism on the street pushes their counterparts in the parliaments for more and closer interactions; on the other hand, as a growingly important political force, far-right parties need to strike a delicate balance between two different but maybe equally important roles: a ‘true’ representative of the movement and the ideology behind it (the cost of which is getting too many extremists in the parties), and a ‘credible’ actor in the parliament, coalitions and government (the cost of which is distancing itself from its activists, electorate and supporters). Facing this dilemma, far-right parties adopt largely different patterns in their interactions with far-right movement organizations, whose choices are not only constrained by historical structures and compositions of far-right networks and institutional/societal responses to far-right actors in the respective countries, but can also be largely shaped by the strategies and the perceptions by the leaders and the elites of a specific party. This paper contributes to the effort to move beyond the largely exclusive focus on party politics and to explore the rationale behind the diversity of far-right party-movement interactions by a paired comparison of UK and Germany. From a perspective of coalition-building, although a party-movement coalition was initiated in both cases between a major far-right party (UKIP and AfD) and the broader movement sector, the coalition was short-lived in the UK while it endured in the German case. Following a process tracing approach, this paper shows how the role of leadership, intra-party unity and a shared collective identity influence the initiation, the maintenance and the end of the coalition. By comparing similar coalitions with different outcomes, this paper aims to offer important insights on how far-right parties respond to far-right movements and how intraparty factors might explain their varied responses.
Hegemonic Struggles and the Role of Contemporary ‘Organic Intellectuals’. A Different Perspective for the Analysis of Discourses
Francesco Melito
Abstract
The ‘populist moment’ and the growing number of non-liberal discourses indicate that we are in the presence of a counter-hegemonic phase against the established liberal order involving several sites of ideological production. However, the analysis of these counter-revolutions still focuses on agency, looking mainly at political parties or leaders. This paper tries to reverse this picture suggesting to look firstly at discourses as such to understand the contestation of the dominant worldview. Thus, it proposes a methodological platform for studying (counter-)hegemonic discourses that abandons agent-centrism. To achieve this goal, it introduces the notion of ‘organic intellectuals of a discourse-coalition’, linking two concepts developed respectively by Antonio Gramsci and Maarten Hajer. This formula allows focusing on all actors articulating and propagating the same demands and discourse, regardless of their affiliation. Using this approach, a discourse-coalition may include parties or politicians as well as journalists or influencers as long as they exert an intellectual function, that is, they are able to mould common sense. By developing this formula, the paper is aimed at researchers that use Poststructuralist Discourse Theory in the study of hegemonic discourses as it provides a sound justification for the selection of a valid and representative discourse-coalition.
Rallying ‘round the Drag: Anti-gender Mobilization and the Mainstreaming of the Far Right
Sabine Volk
Abstract
This article explores the link between anti-gender mobilization and the mainstreaming of the far right. It addresses the question of how and to what extent the far right allies with ‘mainstream’ actors in the context of anti-gender protest. Drawing from a social movement approach to the European far right, the article contributes a novel operationalization of the mainstreaming of the far right in terms of discourse coalitions and protest alliances, with anti-gender frames working as a ‘symbolic glue’ between the far right, the mainstream as well as fringe actors on the extreme right. As a case study, the article focuses on anti-gender mobilization in Germany, fathoming the critical case of far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). It adopts a localist perspective to analyze AfD’s discourse coalitions and protest alliances in the context of a protest event against a ‘drag story hour’ in Munich in June 2023. The qualitative protest event analysis demonstrates the only partial normalization of the far right in the context of anti-gender mobilization: While discourse coalitions between the far right and the mainstream have normalized, protest alliances remain a political taboo. Instead, the far right allies with fringe actors such as COVID-19 deniers, conspiracy activists, and right-wing extremists.
 

Panel 5.12 Leveraging data for mobilizing people: interrogating data practices from the grassroots


Considering the frenetic pace of technological development and datafication of our societies, grassroots organizations need to critically reflect on and leverage data and tech practices in their attempts to foster social change. While for a long time, scholars have focused on the harmful consequences of data production and exploitation on political activism (e.g., discussing the dangers of dataveillance or digital surveillance), an increasing number of contributions have progressively started to focus on the potential of alternative data practices developed from below. Studies on data activism have highlighted the role of social movements and civil society organizations in politicizing discourses on the production and use of data for social justice and fielded alternative practices of data production, use, and circulation to advance social change processes. Empirically, mobilizations around various topics have increasingly resorted to data practices to advance their goals. Anti-corruption movements and organizations, for example, have developed encrypted platforms to ease leaking information on institutional wrongdoing and monitor powerholders. Transfeminist movements and groups have started bottom-up processes of data collection to counter official statistics or bring to light systemic and little-reported violence. Climate justice activists have relied on monitoring practices to denounce the causes and effects of the environmental crisis. These innovations have, in turn, enriched theoretical reflections on the role of data in political struggles and partly reshaped traditional understandings of collective action. The multiplicity of practices through which collective actors exploit data in their political struggles thus constitutes a fertile terrain of investigations for scholars in different subfields. Against this background, the panel invites contributions aimed at theoretically and empirically exploring:

- grassroots actors and their resistance to digital surveillance/repression
- counter-data, sousveillance, and monitoring practices
- how data practices reshape the interactions between institutional and extra-institutional actors
- the impact of data practices on movement dynamics and outcomes
- open data as leverage of engagement for civil society and social movements
- alternative data practices around the globe

Chairs: Anwesha Chakraborty, Alessandra Lo Piccolo

 

Panel 5.13 Touristification and its opponents. Old practices of struggle, new forms of resilience to overtourism in city centers


For at least two decades, mass tourism and the consequent touristification of urban centers at a global level has posed problems for the management of territories attacked by invasive and unregulated processes that change the face and quality of city life. Over the years, many forms of resistance have been put up by citizens and local administrators: neighbourhood assemblies, symbolic and demonstrative actions, tax restrictions for online platforms managing real estate for short-term rentals, legislative limits on commercial substitution, coordination between “touristificated cities”. Cross-sectional mobilization has produced some results, but insufficient to effectively control the phenomenon. In more recent years, the action of resistance has been accompanied by one of “resilience”, i.e. a form of silent opposition that partly fights touristification, partly “negotiate” with it, inserting itself in the contradictions and economic potential it generates. The panel thus aims to study and compare three forms of opposition to mass tourism: collective (and conscious) action from below; individual adaptation by citizens living in neighbourhoods affected by the process of touristification; and administrative political action to manage urban tourism. The objective is to analyse and evaluate the appropriate political tools to govern the phenomenon, and the balance point capable of bringing together bottom-up and top-down action in a functional manner for a more virtuous and effective management of the touristificated city. On the eve of Roman Jubilee, a reflection of this kind is also intended to encourage the implementation of public policies capable of supporting the tourism dynamic but, at the same time, defending that “right to the city” often annihilated by mass phenomena controlled by exclusive motives of private investors.
The following topics will be particularly favoured:
- The study of temporary urban populations;
- The issue of short-term rentals, its urban incidence, proposals for managing the heritage, public or private, being transformed from “residential” to “investment” use;
- The different and sometimes competing understandings of sustainability within tourism sector;
- New aspects of the concept of gentrification;
-The study of the public policies, at Italian and European level, most effective in containing the phenomenon;
-Bottom-up forms of association against mass tourism: examples and models;
-The economic issue related to touristification: from the “city economy” to online platforms;
-The housing issue connected to the functionalization of public and private real estate assets.

Chairs: Luca Alteri, Alessandro Barile

A Case of a European Network Against Overtourism: the Sustour Project
Luca Alteri, Luca Reitano, Naoum Mylonas
Abstract
Today there is a full awareness, within academic community, civil society and local institutions, about the evidence that tourism has grown beyond its sustainable bounds, to the detriment of territories and destination sites, without leaving any serious social-economic benefits, but only increasing the environmental threats. There are two ways to change. The first suggests a return to the “Grand Tour model of tourism”, reserved for an economic elite, often lacking even the cultural curiosity of the XVIII century nobility. The second refers to the opportunity to promote “quality tourism”, which allows for a diversification of mass flows. In order to achieve this objective, it is worthwhile fostering tourism in economically depressed areas (rural and inner zones, less developed districts), building connections between “poor” economic sectors (agrifood products and shepherds’ paths), promoting thematic services usually not frequented by tourists (agri-tourism, sport and religious experiences, health and wellbeing, protected natural sites). At present, Europe is the great absentee on this path that combines “quality tourism”, sustainable economic growth and ethical dimension. The Sustour project intends to start filling this gap by strengthening cooperation between Greek, Spanish, and Italian research groups. Ionian University, University of Granada, Sapienza University of Rome, CNA Rome and Euricon Consultants have built a network to develop the design and management of sustainable tourism destinations by the help of ICT tools. The project supports Higher Education paths and seeks to implement a joint transdisciplinary e-Course, included an e-mobility phase, accompanied by an automatic mutual recognition system of the acquired qualifications and learning outcomes. Indeed, Covid-19 taught how the use of ICTs can shorten geographical and social distances, especially if institutions decide to enhance education and culture as an instrument for awareness and empowerment in favour of citizens. The paper aims at presenting the strengths and weaknesses of the project, specifically the phases that have already been implemented, and will enable the research teams to discuss with the scientific community the concrete ways of “Europeanising sustainable tourism”.
Centri storici e beni comuni urbani contemporanei, ossia delle pratiche conflittuali e collaborative a difesa del diritto alla città
Monica Ibba
Abstract
L’overtourism riguarda il sovraffollamento turistico che, a fronte della diffusione del turismo di massa, investe numerose città italiane, a partire dalle città d’arte (Di Marco et al. 2022). Nel 2018 la città Metropolitana di Firenze ha accolto oltre 13 milioni di turisti, per sfiorare gli oltre 15 milioni e mezzo di presenze nel 2019. Dopo la breve parentesi dettata dalle chiusure dovute alla pandemia, il 2023 ha visto una ripresa della tendenza pre covid. La sottrazione di spazi ai residenti causata da un’economia locale prevalentemente orientata alla speculazione immobiliare e alla ricerca di profitti indiretti in nome dell’attrattività turistica (Agostini 2022; De Zordo 2020) e del capitale finanziario si è tradotta, da un lato, in un sostanziale ripensamento delle città da luoghi di produzione a luoghi di consumo (Barile 2019), limitando di fatto il diritto dei cittadini a godere delle proprie città. Dall’altra, la città si è convertita in luogo di conflitto in senso lefebvriano (Lefebvre 2018), dove cittadini singoli e associati talvolta si attivano per riappropriarsi degli “spazi” della città in quanto beni collettivi urbani non mercificabili (Alteri et al. 2014; Raffini 2019; Barile 2019), mettendo in pratica azioni collettive di natura partecipativa, conosciute in letteratura come pratiche di gestione dei beni collettivi, o commons (Ostrom 1989). È il caso di quella che a Firenze oggi è conosciuta come Associazione Giardino Dell'Ardiglione Aps (ma non è l’unica), un’associazione del centro storico della città Metropolitana di Firenze particolarmente attiva nel mantenimento di un presidio di socialità cittadina nel quartiere dell’Oltrarno, un caso interessante di azione dal basso che è stata capace di mettere insieme istanze collettive, interesse della pubblica amministrazione e responsabilità del capitale privato speculativo a fini turistici in nome del diritto dei residenti (vecchi e nuovi) di godere di una risorsa collettiva urbana fondamentale per la città in generale e il quartiere dell’Oltrarno fiorentino in particolare. I beni comuni urbani contemporanei possono essere intesi sia come risorse (materiali e immateriali, come strade, parchi, servizi) sulle quali i cittadini hanno un interesse comune, sia come istituzioni dell’agire collettivo relativamente alla gestione di quelle risorse (DeMoore 2007), e si diversificano in base agli strumenti e dunque ai tipi di azione (dall’occupazione di spazi alla creazione di imprese di comunità, dalla stipula di patti di collaborazione con le amministrazioni comunali all’interno del c,d, paradigma dell’amministrazione condivisa agli usi civici), ma condividono l’obiettivo generale di riappropriarsi degli spazi della cittadinanza. Lo studio concettualizza i commons a partire dalla letteratura classica, guardando ad essi come sistemi di amministrazione dei beni collettivi alternativi allo Stato e al mercato, ma presenta una chiave di lettura che deve tenere conto delle sfide della contemporaneità, e che tenta pertanto di conciliare l’approccio tradizionale ai commons con una concezione dei beni comuni urbani contemporanei in quanto azioni di riappropriazione delle città, in contrasto alle politiche di sviluppo urbano neoliberiste e alla mercificazione, se si vuole in senso polanyiano, delle città e dei loro centri storici a beneficio dell’attrattività turistica e consumistica, che hanno prodotto non solo espulsioni fisiche e sociali, ma anche l’emergere di forme di resilienza, o resistenza, urbana. La progressiva globalizzazione del mercato, la diffusione del potere nelle mani di forti élite economiche e decisionali sovranazionali, e la svendita, da parte dei policy maker, delle risorse collettive delle città, insieme al distacco della politica dalle collettività e alla scarsità di risorse e di garanzia dei servizi a livello locale hanno generato, soprattutto a seguito della crisi finanziaria del 2008, spazi urbani sempre più contesi, a fronte di una crescente complessità dei problemi e delle domande data dalla frammentazione e dal pluralismo sociale (Dente 2011; Arena 2023; Alteri et al. 2014; Sassen 2001; Foster e Iaione 2016, Bollier 2015). In questo contesto, le azioni collettive di cura e gestione dei beni comuni urbani contemporanei rivendicano l’utilizzo dello spazio pubblico (Foster e Iaione 2016) a beneficio di un migliore esercizio della democrazia (Bollier 2015). In questo senso, lo studio analizza empiricamente il caso di studio del Giardino dell’Ardiglione, per comprendere come l’azione dal basso si è imposta e funziona, dialoga con il pubblico e si impone sul privato, rispondendo all’esigenza di indagare una tipologia di beni comuni, quelli urbani, che finora sono stati poco teorizzati (Foster e Iaione 2016), oltre che di approfondire l’uso di tali pratiche utilizzando lenti analitiche che negli studi sui commons in Italia hanno avuto scarsa fortuna (Dunlop et al. 2019). A partire da interviste semi-strutturate ad attori rilevanti, si indagherà la governance, ossia il design, dell’azione collettiva in difesa e tutela del bene collettivo, e come questa risponde alla sfida della turistificazione, focalizzandoci sulla definizione e l’implementazione di regole che stabiliscono ruoli precisi degli attori in campo e delimitano chi ha diritto di usare la risorsa, aspettandoci una chiara determinazione dell’azione in capo a ciascun attore e un forte controllo verso l’esterno. Per farlo, impiegheremo un approccio allo studio della governance relativamente giovane ma sottovalutato – e dunque sotto-studiato – fino a tempi piuttosto recenti (Dunlop et al. 2019), ossia il framework dell’Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD), elaborato da Ostrom e colleghi (Ostrom 2005), che guarda agli attori come inseriti in “situazioni di azione” che sono strutturate, regolate e che possono essere analizzate secondo specifiche variabili o istituzioni (regole, norme, strategie) che governano le interazioni degli attori di un sistema.
Empowering young islanders to counteract the exogenous pressures of touristification: the Islands_4_Future project in Ponza.
Antonia De Michele, Pietro Agnoletto, Arturo Gallia, Stefano Malatesta
Abstract
Touristification represents a central theme within the decades-long international debate that has characterized the interdisciplinary field of Island Studies. This is due to the power of the "lure of island" (Baldacchino, 2012) exerted on the tourism imaginaries and markets, particularly Eurocentric ones, and it is associated with a vision of islands as objects of consumption. As many scholars have highlighted, the multiple impacts of overtourism on insular contexts are pervasive: commodification, land grabbing, prevalence of seasonal economies, degradation of ecosystems, and the progressive erosion of traditional practices and knowledge. In a sense, islands – especially small ones – represent "special" observation points (Ratter, 2018) useful for understanding the broader socio-spatial, environmental, and geopolitical dynamics of the present, including the phenomenon of mass tourism and its implications. Based on these premises, this contribution aims to reflect on possible resilience strategies that can be activated at the local scale to counteract the distortions of an economic system centered on the idea of tourism monoculture and monoseason, through the specific case study of the island of Ponza (LT, Italy). On the island, the advent of tourism as a predominant economic activity – since the mid-1970s – has caused significant impacts not only on the environment but also on human activities, leading to intense anthropization and cementification of the space through the massive construction of accommodation facilities for tourism purposes (Gallia, 2021). The tourist impact, seasonal and concentrated almost exclusively in summer, heavily affects the island’s resources, society, culture, and economy. One can speak of a real "aggression" (Racheli, 1987: 44), both quantitative and qualitative, against the territory, in the absence of a force capable of countering and directing incoming tourist flows. On the one hand, there have been pressures from external actors that have favored massive and seasonal anthropization of the insular territory; on the other hand, the institutional deficiency of local actors has not allowed the island to develop its own trajectory capable of adequately managing the impacts of tourism, nor of simultaneously meeting exogenous and internal needs. The island has been overwhelmed by private and individual initiatives, in a context characterized by a multitude of micro-conflicts among insiders themselves. Ponza is thus a theater of tensions and conflicts among different interests, demands, and expectations; but at the same time, it can represent a territorial laboratory for understanding forms – or the very possibilities – of alternative tourism models aimed at empowering the local community towards new policies for planning tourist activities, directing them towards respecting the quality of life of the native populations and the environment. In this direction, the contribution will present the activities of Islands_4_Future, an interdisciplinary joint-project between several universities, which has as its main object the investigation of the future imaginaries of young people living on the small Italian islands. The aim of the project - set on the island of Ponza and in line with European and national (PNRR) development strategies for small islands - is to analyze the proactive role of the new generations in encouraging the enhancement of cultural heritage and the care of the territory, thus contributing to the enrichment of the social capital of the island and countering the impacts of overtourism. The processes of valuing and caring for the territory and promoting the dimensions of agency of young people in the future development of islands are considered key conditions for the realization of resilience plans: understanding their own islandness, reclaiming the territory and its narrative by writing “naturally and specifically, about their own small island” (Baldacchino, 2004: 277), defining new meanings and project paths, pursuing forms of resistance to representations and actions imposed from outside. The role that young people can have as "guardians of heritage," as references for the design of the future, will be highlighted: it is essential in this sense to ensure that they reclaim the processes underlying the production of territorial images and projects, to strengthen their "agency of cultural action in space" (Broccolini and Padiglione, 2017:13). The project – based on place-based qualitative research methodologies – is conceived as work of mediation, listening, and research, but above all of education, to be understood not as the imposition of a vision, but as an operation of unveiling and restitution, to activate and manage the care of cultural heritage. In this sense, the youth won’t be the object of the research, but they will be active researchers, in a process fundamental so that those who live in the territory can increase their power of intervention against exogenous pressures of touristification. Baldacchino, G. (2004), “The Coming of Age of Island Studies”, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 95, 3, 272-283 Baldacchino, G. (2012): “The Lure of the Island: A Spatial Analysis of Power Relations”, Journal of Marine and Island Cultures, 1, 55-66 Broccolini, A.; Padiglione V. (2017): “Ecomuseale, una pratica per il futuro”, in Id. (ed.), Ripensare i margini. L'Ecomuseo Casilino per la periferia di Roma, Roma: Aracne; 17- 34 Cardillo, M. C.; Cavallo, F. L.; Gallia, A.; Malatesta, S. (2021): “Isole, turismo e ambiente: tra conflitti, modelli e opportunità”, Geotema, 67, 3-7 Gallia, A. (2021): “L’approvvigionamento idrico nelle isole minori italiane come nodo conflittuale tra attività turistiche e insiders. Il caso dell’Isola di Ponza”, Geotema, 67, 19-28 Racheli, G. (1987): Le Isole Ponziane. Rose dei venti. Natura, storia, arte, Milano: Mursia Ratter B. (2018): Geography of Small Islands. Outpost of Globalisation, Cham:Springer