Reacting to a stigmatization of social movements as irrational and pathological, social movement studies have long asserted the “normality” of contentious politics. More recently, however, some authors have pointed out the specificity of protest as “passionate politics.” This presentation will discuss the debate on emotions in social movement studies by addressing the eventful protests since 2011. Looking especially at the acampadas and similar forms of action in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Syntagma Square in Athens, and Zuccotti Park in New York City for illustration, I will consider the emotional and cognitive mechanisms through which eventful protests change relations.
Donatella della Porta is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute, Florence, where she directs the Centre on Social Movement Studies (Cosmos), and Professor of Political Science at the Instituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (on leave of absence). She has directed the Demos project, devoted to the analysis of conceptions and practices of democracy in social movements in six European countries. She is now working on a major ERC project, Mobilizing for Democracy, on civil society participation in democratization processes in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. She is co-editor of the European Political Science Review. In 2011, she received the Mattei Dogan Prize for distinguished achievements in the field of political sociology. Her main fields of research are social movements, the policing of public order, participatory democracy, and political corruption.
She is the author or editor of several dozen books. Among the most recent are: Can Democracy be Saved? (2013); Clandestine Political Violence (2013); the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Social and Political Movements (with David A. Snow, Bert Klandermans, and Doug McAdam, 2013); Mobilizing on the Extreme Right (with Manuela Caiani and Claudius Wagemann, 2012); and Meeting Democracy (ed. with Dieter Rucht, 2012).