Politics Faculty

Eleonora Pasotti
  • Title
    • Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Administration Building, 115
  • Mail Stop Merrill/Crown Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Comparative Politics, Democracy, Electoral Politics, European Politics, Urban studies, Labor and Social Movements
  • 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: European Politics
  • Advisees, Grad Students, Researchers , Alberto Ganis

Summary of Expertise

Professor Pasotti's work focuses on comparative urban politics, with an interest in urban electoral institutions, political economy, and social movements. 

Research Interests

Professor Pasotti's research explores the dynamics of preference formation and institutional constraints, as applies to both political elites and civl society. She applies this research interest to the field of comparative urban politics, with wide-ranging transregional analysis of both mayoral politics and social movements.

Her current research focuses on comparative analysis of private property transfers in multiple contexts. At the urban level, Professor Pasotti explores this issue with a comparative study of land value capture policies. These tools offer interesting avenues to mitigate residential displacement, and also raise important theoretical questions about representation by questioning the identification of appropriate stakeholder constituencies within "the community." At the national level, Professor Pasotti studies private property transfers through the lense of succession law in historical and comparative perspective.

Biography, Education and Training

PhD Political Science, Columbia University

MSc Philosophy, London School of Economics

BSc Economics, London School of Economics

Honors, Awards and Grants

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.

Selected Publications

 Resisting Redevelopment: Protest in Aspiring Global Cities (Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2020) is the Winner of the 2021 American Sociological Association Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements Charles Tilly Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award and received the 2021 Honorable Mention for the American Political Science Association Urban Politics Section Dennis Judd Best Book Award. It has been reviewed in European Planning Studies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Mobilization, Regional Studies, Journal of Urban Affairs, Perspectives on Politics, Urban Research & Practice, Urban Policy & Research, Governance, Critical Mass, Contemporary Sociology and American Journal of Sociology. 

This book explores collective action at the neighborhood level in 29 protest cases set in ten cities: Hamburg and Madrid in Europe, Istanbul and Tel Aviv in the Middle East, Toronto and Los Angeles in North America, Buenos Aires and Santiago in South America, and Melbourne and Seoul in East Asia/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 tools 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. They are especially indespensible wherever unions are unable or unwilling to provide strong support to residents facing displacement. As the second half of the book explains, 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 when there is a lack of partisan alignment between neoliberal mayors and higher tiers of government. The book also discusses resistance against displacement specifically in public housing estates.  

Political Branding in Cities: The Decline of Machine Politics in Bogotá, Naples and Chicago (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics, Cambridge University Press 2009) 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. Reviewed in Perspectives, The International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, The American Review of Public Administration, Comparative Political Studies, Political Science Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, Political Communication, Urban Research & Practice, Local Government Studies, Polis (in Italian), Métropoles (in French). Translated in Spanish as La Politica de Marca en Las Ciudades (Editorial Universidad El Rosario), reviewed in Portafolio.

 Much Ado About Nothing? (Berghahn Books, 2011) is co-edited with Elisabetta Gualmini and examines Italian politics and society in 2009 and 2010. Reviewed in La Rivista Il Mulino

Selected Presentations

EURA/UAA City Futures IV Conference, Dublin, June 20-22, 2019 

CES Social Movement Research Network Pre-Conference on Right the City, Madrid, June 18-19, 2019

Political Science Department's Comparative Politics Colloquium and Global Metropolitan Studies Center, UC Berkeley, February 1, 2018

Keynote: Department of Hispanic Studies, University of Kentucky, LACLS sponsored symposium "Making the City in Latin America", Lexington, September 30, 2016

Keynote: Escuela de Gobierno y Políticas Públicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Seminario: "Las ciudades de América Latina entre el corto y el largo plazo: planificación, centralidad, desigualdad", Lima, December 9-11, 2015 

American Political Science Association Meeting, Washington, DC, September 25, 2015


Teaching Interests

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.