Politics Faculty

Eleonora Pasotti
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Administration Building, 115
  • Office Hours Spring 2019 Wed 1:30-2:30 in Merrill 115
  • Mail Stop Merrill/Crown Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Courses POLI 60: Comparative Politics / Politics of the Developing World, POLI149: Democratization, POLI 153: Urban Politics, POLI190H: Substance of Democracy, POLI200C: State and Institutions, POLI249: Politics of Protest, POLI140A: Advanc. Industrial. Societ./European Politics

Research Interests

Professor Pasotti's research explores the dynamics of preference formation and change. Her first book is titled Political Branding in Cities: The Decline of Machine Politics in Bogotá, Naples and Chicago (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics, Cambridge University Press 2009) and focuses on institutional change, the transformation of patronage politics and representation. Drawing on the experiences of three cities on three continents, the book shows how cities suffering for decades from poor government, entrenched patronage, lack of development, and social conflict made a transition to a new form of governance: brand politics. Facilitated by the joint presence of direct elections, low party discipline, and high rates of municipal fiscal self-reliance, brand politics breaks a vicious cycle of skepticism and inertia and opens the window for a broad set of reforms. The theory of brand politics shows mayors emulating marketing mavericks: in commerce, consumers aspire to become different people by acquiring products; in politics, citizens support mayors' brands because they seek to become carriers of the same values. Voting and buying have thus become increasingly synonymous in citizens' primal search for a means of expressing their identities. Professor Pasotti subsequently co-edited (with Elisabetta Gualmini) a book about Italian politics titled Much Ado About Nothing? (Berghahn Books, 2011). 

Her current book project is titled Protest and Urban Development: Resistance in Aspiring Global Cities (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming), and explores collective action at the neighborhood level in 29 protest cases set in ten cities in Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, Asia and Oceania. It explains how residents with no prior background in activism, and in cities where both political leadership and institutions disfavor their cause, can organize and achieve remarkable and sustained policy impact. Critical and overlooked are the passion and pride that participants gain from participating in experiential tools: events and activities that are not explicitly justified as political mobilization, and even less for protest. Experiential tools bring residents together, ground their perception of identity at the neighborhood level, and prime them for action by making the protection of their neighborhood a defining personal moment. This book is devoted to the analysis of these understudied elements of contention, experiential tools, and the conditions under which they exert an impact. It is motivated by the finding that experiential tools contribute heavily to social mobilization, especially when combined with protest legacies and broad networks. However, protests drawing on experiential strategies are only likely to have strong impact under certain conditions: when protesters possess political allies in city government, and there is a lack of partisan alignment with higher tiers of government.

Professor Pasotti has been a Public Policy fellow at Columbia University, a German Marshall Fund of the United States fellow, and a post-doctoral fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University and a visiting fellow at the European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy.

Professor Pasotti's research interests include: comparative urban politics, European politics, democracy & democratization, public policy, political economy. She teaches courses on democracy, democratization, urban politics, social movements, and European politics.