Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Political Theory

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of Social Sciences | Political Theory | Events | Public book talk: Democratic Innovations from Below

Public book talk: Democratic Innovations from Below

Donatella della Porta presents insights from her latest book ‚How Social Movements Can Save Democracy‘ and engages in discussion with Dieter Rucht and Daniel Staemmler as critics, moderated by Anton Haffner.

Author meets critics book talk with Donatella della Porta (SNS Florence) 
May 31 2021, 7:30 pm (CEST) 
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Zoom
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The birth of democracies and their deepening owes much to the interventions and mobilizations of ordinary people. Yet many feel as though they are confronted with democratic institutions which do not deliver for the people – that a rigid democratic process has been imposed from above, with increasing numbers of people feeling left out or left behind.

In this well-researched volume, leading political sociologist Donatella della Porta rehabilitates the role social movements have long played in fostering and deepening democracy, particularly focusing on progressive movements of the Left which have sought to broaden the plurality of voices and knowledge in democratic debate. Bridging social movement studies and democratic theory, della Porta investigates contemporary innovations since the financial crisis, particularly those in the direction of participatory and deliberative practices – ‘crowd-sourced constitutions’, referendums from below and movement parties – and reflects on the potential and limits of such alternative politics.

In a moment in which concerns increase for the potential disruption of a Great Regression led by xenophobic movements and parties, the cases and analyses of resistance in this volume offer important and hopeful material for students and scholars of political sociology, political science and social movement studies.


The public book talk is organized in cooperation with the Institute of Social Movement Studies (ipb) and part of the international workshop ‚After the Event: Conceptualizing Political Protest‘, held by the Political Theory research and teaching unit. Della Porta’s book ‚How Social Movements Can Save Democracy: Democratic Innovations from Below‘ was published with Polity Press in 2020. A German translation entitled ‚Die schöne neue Demokratie‘ is available from Campus Verlag.