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COSMOS Conference "The Charlie Hebdo Critical Juncture:​ ​ European Public Spheres Before and After the Paris Attacks​"

Call for papers


Prof. Donatella Della Porta (SNS)Dr. Pietro Castelli Gattinara (SNS)Dr. Andrea Felicetti (SNS)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Prof. André Bächtiger (University of Stuttgart)Prof. Jan Willem Duyvendak (University of Amsterdam)Dr. Timothy Peace (University of Stirling)Dr. Gavan Titley (Maynooth University)


The Charlie Hebdo shootings of January 2015 represent a critical juncture that changed the European public debate, at both the EU and national level. The controversies that followed the attacks had deep effects on mainstream institutional actors, social movements and subaltern publics across Europe. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks contentious issues related to the role of religion in secular societies, civil rights and freedom of speech, accommodation of cultural diversity and securitization of migration are once again in the middle of public sphere debates in Europe. The conference aims at analysing the effects of these attacks on the content and quality of public debates across Western European societies, paying special attention to dynamics of deliberation and polarization across public spheres, and to the interplay between mass media and social movements in the construction of public discourse.

This event will bring together scholars reflecting on the consequences of critical junctures from multiple perspectives. It will also offer a space to present the preliminary findings of the ongoing project led by Donatella della Porta at SNS, providing qualitative and quantitative insights from individual case studies in France, Germany, Italy, UK and Denmark. We are particularly interested in contributions that focus on the role of the mass media, civil rights, islamophobia, racism and anti-Semitism, the politics of migration, party-movements interactions, and deliberative democracy. We invite proposals that can help bridging perspectives from a wide range of fields, including social movement studies, democratic theory, sociology of religion, migration studies, and media and communication studies. Both single-case studies and broad comparative analyses based on qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method lines of enquiry are welcome.

Submission Details

We welcome submissions from people at all career stages. Abstracts should be 300-400 words and suitable for a 15-20 minute presentation. Please send your abstract and contact details to Pietro Castelli Gattinara ( or Andrea Felicetti ( by the deadline of June 19th. Decisions on abstracts will be made by July 3rd. The conference is organised under the auspices of the Centre On Social Movement Studies (COSMOS) at the Institute of Human and Social Sciences, SNS. Unfortunately, we are not able to cover costs for participants.


If you have any further questions please feel free to contact either Pietro Castelli Gattinara ( or Andrea Felicetti (