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Cristina Fominaya - New Professor at the Department of Global Studies

Cristina Fominaya has accepted a position as Professor at the School of Culture from 1 November 2021.

Cristina Flesher Fominaya (PhD and MA Sociology, University of California, Berkeley; BA summa cum laude International Relations, University of Minnesota) is an internationally recognized expert in European and global movements and politics. She has established an internationally recognized reputation for leadership in the field through a sustained trajectory of high impact research and dissemination on globalization, social movements, citizen-driven democratic innovation, and “hybrid” movement-parties. Professor Flesher Fominaya has an established track record in securing competitive high quality research income to fund her research, and significant experience in research and grant management and administration. She has been awarded numerous prestigious and competitive fellowships and grants, including the National Science Foundation Fellowship, for research on the British Anti-Roads Movement, which was awarded the Lowenthal Prize in Critical and Cultural Theory; the German Marshall Fund Fellowship for research on the Global Justice Movement; and the Marie Curie Intra-European Senior Fellowship for cross-national comparative research on anti-austerity and pro-democracy movements following the global financial crash of 2008.

She is currently the Editor in Chief of the leading journal in her field, Social Movement Studies, and founding co-editor of the global open access journal Interface which is a major reference in the field and created a ground-breaking practitioner/academic publishing model and is read in over 100 countries. She is founder of the Council for European Studies European Social Movements Research Network and served as chair from 2010- 2015. She has published very widely in highly ranked and regarded journals in Politics, Sociology, Geography and Social History. Her three most recent books are Democracy Reloaded: Inside Spain's Political Laboratory from 15-M to Podemos (Oxford University Press 2020); Social Movements in a Globalized World 2nd Edition (Palgrave Macmillan/ Red Globe 2020) and The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary European Social Movements: Protest in Turbulent Times (2020).

Her work is required reading in various university courses around the world, from political philosophy to contentious politics. She has a strong record of academic and public engagement with 15 international keynote addresses and 43 invited expert presentations to date. She has shared keynote honours with President of the Republic of Tunisia, Dr. Mancef Marzouki, film maker Ken Loach, Guardian columnist/author Owen Jones, and Podemos co-founder Íñigo Errejón, and spoken at the invitation of Mada Masr (the Egyptian activist media collective recently featured in Time Magazine’s 100 influential people list) and South Korean D-Camp Start-Up Accelerator, Wisdome/WAGL Forum on Digital Democracy, among many others.


Fominaya's current research project:
The proposed research during her professorship at AU, is a cross-national analysis of democratic imaginaries and practices in the “occupy style” pro-democracy movements that emerged around the world following the 2008 global financial crash and their role in democratic innovation, both in national contexts and in transnational networks. In order to effectively address urgent global challenges to democracy, such as information disorders and toxic polarization, we need more knowledge on how pro-democracy movements re-imagine democracy and develop bottom-up innovation repertoires and how these can subsequently contribute to democratic innovation beyond social movements. Drawing on specific case studies in three countries, the research asks: Which democratic imaginaries, ideational frameworks and repertoires of action were mobilized and how do they shape movement-led democratic innovation? To what extent were these shared across movements?

The research breaks new ground by  developing a novel concept of “democracy innovation repertoires” that captures the role of movement imaginaries in shaping democratic innovation practices, overcoming significant lacunae in dominant approaches; elucidating cross-national patterns in democratic innovation and their relation to critical movement events; and enabling a theoretical framework to explain the processes through which social movements impact democratic innovation. In addition, it will generate new knowledge by creating a unique cross-national comparative qualitative data set on democratic imaginaries and substantive conceptions of democracy, transcending and disrupting dominant analytical approaches formulated around procedural components and survey data.


Cristina Flesher Fominaya  
School of Culture and Society
Jens Chr. Skous Vej 5
building 1465, 430
8000 Aarhus C