Social conflicts on inequality and labour

Political economy and the sociology of social movements seemed to have successfully built their own theories, conceptual and analytical framework to study distinct aspects of social reality. On the one hand, political economy has centred its analysis mainly on who gets what and how, focusing on the state arena, policy processes, and the evolution of institutions and coalitions of actors behind them. On the other hand, social movement studies have focused their attention on the processes of collective mobilization in the broader social arena, overlooking dynamics concerning economic structures. The recent economic crisis has put into question not only the main theories of both fields (Variety of Capitalism, political opportunities or resource mobilization theories) but also the sharp disciplinary separation between sociology of social movements and political economy, revitalizing a long standing criticism with these perspectives. This group gathers projects and researchers focusing on topics such as financial capitalism and the resistance to it, urban conflicts and movements for the commons, student protests against neoliberal higher education, labour and union struggles, campaigns against banks and debt and regulatory and institutional responses, relationships between structural changes in economy, politics and culture, and social movements, critiques of capitalism and forms of state interventions.

Main Projects

  • Inequality in individual incomes and political behaviour. The project, funded by the SNS for 2021-2022, investigates the impact of inequality and socio-economic conditions on political behaviour. Director: Mario Pianta
  • Shipping Off Labour: Changing Staffing Strategies in Globalized Workplaces, Funded by the Research Council of Norway the project addresses migrant workers in the European shipbuilding industry, looking in particular at the origins and implications of ethnic hierarchies at work and at forms of community and union mob8ilisation and solidarity. SNS researchers: Guglielmo Meardi, Nicola Quondamatteo (PhD).
  • GLObal GOvernance of LABour: an integrated approach, A “Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Postdoctoral Fellowship the projects aims at mapping and analyzing the emerging global initiatives on labour rights and the role of social actors in them. Director:  Vincenzo Maccarrone, with the supervision of Guglielmo Meardi,
  • The environmental and social sustainability of the NRRP: policy coalitions, distributional effects, impact evaluation. A project funded by the PRIN scheme of the Italian Ministry for University and Research, it looks at how the institutions and processes, especially in terms of democracy and participations, of the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan contribute to its environmental and social goals. Director: Guglielmo Meardi. Staff at SNS: Guglielmo Meardi, Mario Pianta.
  • Building Local Preparedness to Global Crises (PRELOC). The project, funded by the CARIPLO Foundation, deals with preparedness, an emergent policy framework based on a peculiar approach to the anticipation and management of crises and disasters. The focus is on two sectors, namely health (where preparedness is well-established yet far from stabilized in institutional and procedural terms) and agriculture (where it has been recently introduced in response to climate and geopolitics-related threats to food security), addressed at different scales, from the international (especially European) to the national and the local. Director: Luigi Pellizzoni.
  • Just transition in the factory. Workers’ mobilizations and participatory innovation in emergent Italian experiences (JTransFactory). The project, funded by the Italian government through the PRIN 2022 program, is concerned with studying different pathways of transition to sustainability in industrial production, focusing on two sectors, energy and automotive, and comparing top-down and bottom-up approaches. The former are driven by corporate elites and often entail heavy social costs. The latter, showing novel collaborations between workers, technical staffs, external professionals and other local and translocal actors, aim at saving jobs and skills while rethinking the purposes of production. The research methodology is comparative, via in-depth case studies. Director: Luigi Pellizzoni.