• About SNS

    The Scuola Normale Superiore is a public institute for higher education that in its two centuries of life has earned itself a special place, both in Italy and abroad, a place characterised by merit, talent and scientific rigour. Two types of course are available: the undergraduate course and the PhD course.The teaching activity is distributed among four academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Sciences, placed in Pisa; the Department of political and social sciences and the Ciampi Institute, located in Florence.  

  • Admission

    The evaluation for entrance to the first year of the undergraduate course does not include the high school leaving certificate, and the bachelor's degree is not taken into consideration in the entrance examination for the fourth year course. For each PhD course, candidates’ level of competence, talent, motivations and aptitudes to scientific research will be assessed on the basis of their qualifications and research project and an interview.

  • Academics

    The Scuola Normale Superiore offers two types of course: the undergraduate course, leading to first and second level university degrees, and the PhD course, the international equivalent of the Italian Dottorato di ricerca.The teaching and research activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of  Sciences, and the Department of Political and Social Sciences.The first two academic structures, housed at the Pisa site, organize courses for both the  undergraduate course and the PhD course. The Department of Political and Social Sciences, situated in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, deals only with the PhD course.

  • Research

    A highly qualifying feature of the Normale way is the strong link between teaching and research that is a characteristic of both the undergraduate and the graduate programmes of the Scuola. The research structures of the two Faculties welcome students with a relevant study interest, enabling them to collaborate in a mature way with the activities of the researchers.

  • International

    The Scuola Normale is an institute of a decidedly international nature. Examinations for admission to the undergraduate degree course and for the PhD course are open to all citizens worldwide. A certain number of places on the PhD course are reserved for students from other countries. During the pre laurea and  post lauream teaching courses, study and research programmes are made available at overseas universities and research centres with which the Scuola forms an intense network of collaboration.  The doctorate course in particular is taught in a veritable graduate school in line with the highest international standards. 

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

Call for papers

Centre on Social Movement Studies (Cosmos)
Thursday, 20 October 2016 to Friday, 21 October 2016


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 (pietro.castelli@sns.it) or Andrea Felicetti (andrea.felicetti@sns.it) 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 (pietro.castelli@sns.it) or Andrea Felicetti (andrea.felicetti@sns.it).