Strangely enough, while the pictures used to illustrate the most recent wave of protests for democracy in North Africa represent mass protest, research on social movements and democratization have rarely interacted. This volume aims to fill this gap by looking at episodes of democratization through the lens of social movement studies. Without assuming that democratization is always produced from below, the author singles out different paths of democratization by looking at the ways in which the masses interact with the elites, and protest with bargaining: eventful democratization, participated pacts and troubled democratization. The main focus is on the first of the paths: eventful democratization, that is cases in which authoritarian regimes break down following-often short but intense-waves of protest. Recognizing the particular power of some transformative events, the analysis locates them within the broader mobilization processes, including the multitude of less visible, but still important protests that surround them. Cognitive, affective and relational mechanisms are singled out as transforming the contexts in which dissidents act. In all three paths, mobilization of resources, framing processes and appropriation of opportunities will develop in action, in different combinations. The comparison of different cases within two waves of protests for democracy, in Central Eastern Europe in 1989 and in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, allows the author to theorize about causal mechanisms and conditions as they emerge in mobilizations for democracy.
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Donatella della Porta, European University Institute, Professor of Sociology
Donatella della Porta has launched COSMOS (Consortium on Social Movement Studies) at the EUI. She is now starting 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 Reviews (ECPR-Cambridge University Press). In 2011, she was the recipient of 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 Professor of Sociology in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute and Professor of Political Science at the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane.
della Porta has produced an important contribution to the field of democratisation as well as social movement studies. * Thomas O'Brien, Contemporary European Studies * Mobilizing for Democracy is set to become an important study of "democratization from below", particularly in its interweaving of the disciplinary concerns and foci of both democratization and social movement studies ... It should primarily serve students and scholars of comparative politics, democratization, and social movement studies although it will also certainly be of interest to those studying Middle Eastern and Eastern European political history. * Marc Herzog, Democratization *
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