CLIMACT – Communication as Organization: Social Media and Grassroots Participation in Climate Action Mobilizations

At the Scuola Normale Superiore, I am working together with Marco Deseriis and Diego Ceccobelli on a research project aiming at investigating both the internal organisational dynamics and the communication dimension of the climate movement in two European countries, Italy and Belgium. On the one hand, offline, FFF represents an innovation in the field of environmental politics, with the massive participation of young people, not involved in traditional environmental organisations or in social movements milieus. It seems to be an occasion of mass activation of a whole generation, with the climate crisis acting as a trigger for action because it singles out this generation, it provides it with something that defines it and characterise it. On the other hand, online, it is undeniable that the mediatisation of Greta Thunberg’s figure and the widespread use of social media have favoured a form of participation that escapes the traditional channels of activists’ recruitment, establishing a direct identification between individual students, or peer groups, and the issue of the climate crisis, with Greta as its most recognisable icon.

The project aims at addressing these two different components and its interactions, through the lenses of social movement studies and social media analysis, in two major European countries, bridging the analysis of climate-related collective action and the analysis of the role of social media in political participation.

Previous research projects:

  • DEMOS (Democracy in the EU and the Potential of a European Society) on grassroots alternative visions and practices of Europe. The project was directed by Donatella della Porta at the Scuola Normale Superiore, and I was in charge of the case of labour mobilisation in Italy.
  • Collective Action and the Refugee Crisis”, on protests and initiatives in solidarity with asylum seekers. The project was directed by Donatella della Porta at the Scuola Normale Superiore, and I was in charge of the Italian case.
  • LIVEWHAT project (Living with Hard Times – How Citizens React to Economic Crises and Their Social and Political Consequences), on the citizens’ responses to the economic crisis, coordinated by Marco Giugni (University of Geneva) and funded from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme. I worked on the Italian case under the direction of Lorenzo Bosi.
  • “Memory in Action: Mediatised Public Memory and the Symbolic Construction of Conflict in Student Movements” (Ph.D. thesis, supervised by Donatella della Porta).
  • “National report on students” (“Rapporto Nazionale sui soggetti in formazione”), commissioned by the Italian National Youth Forum (“Forum Nazionale dei Giovani”), c/o Office of the Prime Minister, Department of Youth (“Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Dipartimento della Gioventù”).