Democracy in the EU and the Potential of a European Society (DEMOS)

At the Scuola Normale Superiore, I am working together with Donatella della Porta and Niccolò Bertuzzi on the project Democracy in the EU and the Potential of a European Society (DEMOS) . The focus of this project is on grassroots alternative visions and practices of Europe. As trust in the European Union (EU) is dramatically falling amongst its citizens, research on alternative visions of Europe ‘from below’ appear all the more relevant. Civil society organizations linked to the so called ‘left-libertarian’ movement family have long voiced progressively more critical positions about the EU, yet at the same time promoted ‘another Europe’ and Europeanized their organizational networks and action strategies. While social movement studies, along with other areas of the social sciences, have assumed increasing Europeanisation, recent developments have challenged this view. In particular with the advent of the financial crisis, progressive social movements seem to have moved back to the national and local levels, engaging very little or not at all with the EU and questions of Europe more generally. To what extent critical Europeanism has ceded terrain to Euroscepticism, including within this alter-European vision, is a central question we seek to address in this project. In order to answer these questions, the project draws on the tool-kit of social movement studies and a neoinstitutional approach to critical junctures as sudden and drastic changes. Our empirical focus will be anti-austerity protests and related mobilizations in the period 2011-2016. A cross-time comparison will be constructed by building on data collected for previous research on the GJM, namely through a parallel dataset involving in-depth interviews and document analysis.


Previous research projects:

  • 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”).