Partecipazione & Conflitto. Tenth Anniversary

Tenth anniversary edition of Partecipazione e Conflitto

 On behalf of the editorial team:

Alice Mattoni, Louisa Parks, and Luca Raffini

PARTECIPAZIONE E CONFLITTO [Participation and Conflict] was created in 2008, the first journal in Italy to specialize in work analyzing political and social participation. The journal was to be open to interdisciplinary work, internationally oriented, and founded on rigorous criteria for review. 10 years later in 2018, we believe we have respected that aim. In Italy, PaCo is a touchstone for work on contentious politics, political partic- ipation and grassroots mobilization in Europe, and is steadily becoming more and more international.

In the introduction to our first issue we described the journal as “an ambitious project born of the need to create an autonomous arena for debate dedicated to the study of the dynamics of transformation of contemporary political systems, with a specific focus on the analysis of participation and the political and social conflicts that characterize this. A journal not only about participation, but about political and social studies that place aspects of participation at their core, in all their intrinsic ambivalences, in their constitutive link to the dynamics of conflict”. We invited research and studies that focused on the transformations of politics and its principal actors: parties, interest groups, trade unions, social movements, associations, sub-cultural and counter-cultural communities, citizens’ committees and other forms of more or less formally organized actors “from below”. We sought work that investigated the processes of democratization and new forms of democratic participation in a participatory vein, but also on the ways in which spaces for collective action were being squeezed, and dynamics of identity closure; on spaces opening up or closing down, on new forms of governance at local, national or supranational level, without forgetting those forms of participation and conflict that challenge, in more or less radical ways, the political, social, economic and cultural foundations of contemporary societies.

When we founded the journal, we did so in a context of a deep transformation/crisis of democracy in its traditional, state-bound forms. Yet the context was also one of innovation in participatory dynamics at the local and transnational levels, inviting investigations not only of the decline of conventional forms of participation, but the devel- opment of new forms of political action, including conflict. Calls to reconstruct communities on exclusive and reactionary foundations were counter-balanced, then as now, by the development of alterglobalisation movements. The image of the atomized society was balanced out by experiments with new modes of “identization” in movements and everyday relations to use the happy words of Alberto Melucci. In our first issue, 0/2008, we invited some authoritative authors to provide a critical view on the key themes and actors of political participation: on the relationship between social movement and other collective actors, on parties and their transformations, on trade unions, on the role of associationism, and on the new practices of participatory and deliberative democracy and the relationships between public policies and new forms of participation. Finally, we asked Alessandro Pizzorno, in a lengthy interview, to reflect on the paths of political participation, beginning with the actions linked to his 1966 writings in the Quaderni di Sociologia.

In the past decade, the evolution of Participation and Conflict has followed the evolution of the social and political panorama, as is clear from a glance at the issues covered. The structure of a monographic issue accompanied by an open section has al- lowed us to combine depth with openness. This became all the more apparent in 2014, when the journal changed its look, acquiring a new editor and moving to a digital-only platform that allowed us more elasticity in terms of format and the number of articles published. This new format also opened up space for a review section, publishing symposia on authors, themes, or particularly important contributions.

The Symposium on Sidney Tarrow’s War, States, and Contention – 8(1) 2015; the Symposium on Mario Diani’s book “The Cement of Civil Society: Studying Networks in Localities” – 8(3) 2015; and the Symposium in honor of Luigi Bobbio – 11(1) 2018, saw contributions from 23 authors engaged in open discussions.

Above all, the new Participation and Conflict had taken another step towards internationalizing, by choosing to combine online publication and open access with the choice to publish in English. Today, PaCo publishes work by international and Italian authors in equal measure. Among the Italian authors seizing the opportunity offered by this internationalization, a significant number are colleagues active in European and international universities as a result of the long-term crisis of the Italian university system. The special issues and articles published in PaCo over the last ten years have tackled the role, the identity, the action repertoires and the claims of movements at the local, transnational and global levels, and deepened the study of the principal movement actors and cycles that have taken center stage. They have investigated in depth the scenarios of change facing cities and States. Many have discussed the crisis of the EU, but many others have looked at other realities, particularly Latin America. They have zoomed in on the transformation of actors and organizational forms, but have also discussed individual approaches and interactions between individuals with particular attention paid to both the centrality of the dynamics of communication and the use of digital media. They have investigated the transformation of action repertoires and new (or not so new) participatory practices such as political consumption, occupation, civil disobedience and resilience and experiences in commoning. Phenomena of radicalization and political violence have been looked at, as have conflicts and the forms of participation developed in different contexts and on different issues, ranging from ethnonationalist to environmental conflicts and revolts against corruption, from religious clashes to those over neoliberalism and austerity policies. On this last issue, attention increased alongside the worsening of the economic, political and social crisis of the neoliberal model. Particular attention has also been paid to transformations in labor and the new conflicts that have accompanied these, to new urban conflicts, and to conflicts and participatory practices linked to immigration and the dynamics of mobility.

This attention to new actors and unconventional forms of participation was accompanied from the start by critical analyses of the transformations undergone by institutional actors; of the dynamics of governance, political parties, the third sector, and trade unions; and of new practices of “reconnection” and mending between institutional politics and bottom-up participation, from primaries to participatory-deliberative practices. The guiding narrative of the contributions hosted by the journal is the analysis of processes of de- and re-politicization. These processes have, in recent years, found their expression in the assertion of populism – a theme discussed ever more frequently in the pages of our journal, and in conferences and seminars alike – and anti-mainstream parties and movements of the radical left and, above all, right. As we wrote at the start of this brief introduction, today as ten years ago social, economic and political change presents a scenario where pressure for openness and closure, the construction of new forms of transnational solidarity and regressive isolationism, coexist. In addition, the effects of crisis appear to be exacerbating reactionary, explicitly anti-democratic and openly xenophobic forces in Europe, Trump’s USA, and elsewhere.

The aim of the anniversary issue, celebrating ten years of Paco, is thus to look to the future, starting from the actors, spaces and themes that characterize political, econom- ic, social, and cultural conflicts today. We asked for contributions reflecting on poten- tial future developments related to the manifold ways in which grassroots groups seek to change societies, or to resist certain changes. We asked authors to pay particular at- tention to ‘space’ and ‘time’ as contextualizing aspects of conflicts, two dimensions that we felt were often neglected by existing research. The special edition aims to ex- amine these themes beyond Europe, to shed light on conflicts in other regional con- texts too. The overall goal was to build on empirical work on present day movements for change as the basis for reflections on future paths.

The articles collected in this special anniversary issue fulfill all these aims and more.


Tenth Anniversary Edition of Partecipazione e Conflitto.
Alice Mattoni, Louisa Parks, Luca Raffini

Special Issue

Challenges of the Anti-Trump Movement
Sidney Tarrow, David S. Meyer


The Political Impact of Social Insecurity in France
Nonna Mayer


The ‘Missing Conflict’ of the Sabarmati Riverfront. Authoritarian Governance, Neoliberalism and Water in Ahmedabad, India
Gloria Pessina


Global Rights and Local Struggles. The case of the ILO Convention n.189 on domestic work
Daniela Cherubini, Giulia Garofalo Geymonat, Sabrina Marchetti


What We Talk about When We Talk about ‘Local’ Participation in International Biodiversity Law. The Changing Scope of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ Participation under the Convention on Biological Diversity
Louisa Parks, Mika Schröder


Everyday Identity Change. Convergences and Challenges, Achievements and Agendas of Recent Research
Jennifer Todd

Open Section

Categorizing Collective Capabilities
Francesca Rosignoli


Awakening the Sleeping Giant? The Euro Crisis and EU Issue Voting in Germany
Luca Carrieri


The Italian Animal Advocacy Archipelago and the Four Animalisms
Niccolò Bertuzzi

Book Reviews

Dominique Lorrain and Franck Poupeau (2016), Water Regimes: Beyond the Public and Private Sector, New York: Routledge
Vanessa Mascia Turri


Swianiewicz, P. and Teles, F. (eds., 2018), Intermunicipal Cooperation in Europe. Institutions and Governance, New York, NY, Palgrave Macmillan.
Matteo Bocchino


Marino, S., Roosblad, J., & Penninx, R. (Eds., 2017), Trade Unions and Migrant Workers: New Contexts and Challenges in Europe, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Carlotta Benvegnù


Marcos Ancelovici, Pascale Dufour and Héloïse Nez (eds., 2016), Street Politics in the Age of Austerity: From the Indignados to Occupy, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016.
Raffaele Bazurli

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