Student protests and youth activism in Italy. Mobilisation, resistance and resilience before and after the pandemic. A case-study

Author: Lidia Lo Schiavo


The most recent global cycle of protests from the early 2000s, appears to have brought back the paradigm of students’ and youth activism. In fact, drawing on a more inclusive concept of politics within a comparative perspective, scholars have identified a number of common elements in student mobilisation: asking to be involved in decision-making, demanding spaces for democratic participation, opposing the neoliberalisation of education and the precarisation of work, combating climate crisis, inequalities and injustices, also reasserting these demands after the pandemic. A pragmatic approach to political participation, along with individualization combined with new ways of constructing the collective dimension mainly characterizes contemporary young people political involvement. My longitudinal analysis of three Italian student organisations has enabled me to identify changes in student involvement in the social and political sphere over five years. In particular, I have analysed the impact of the pandemic on the modes of action/protest adopted by the student organisations in question, drawing on a generational and social movements approach.

Keywords: Student activism, generations, individualization, care, reinventing politics


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Notes on contibutors

Lidia Lo Schiavo is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Messina. Her main research interests revolve around Social Theory; Sociology of Student Move-ments; Critical Theory; International Political Sociology; Sociology of Migrations. Email:

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