I am Associate Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Bologna.
I have been recently awarded an ERC Starting Grant 2018 for the research project BIT-ACT: Bottom-up initiative and anti-corruption technologies: how citizens use ICTs to fight corruption. Developing over the course of 5 years (2019-2024), BIT-ACT will open a new line of inquiry by investigating what I call anti-corruption technologies (ACTs) to (1) assess how civil society organizations engage with ACTs to counter corruption, (2) appraise how ACTs enable intersections between bottom-up and top-down efforts against corruption, and (3) evaluate how ACTs blend with the transnational dimension in the struggle against corruption. Based on an interdisciplinary framework that combines corruption studies, science and technology studies as well as social movement studies, BIT-ACT will use the constructivist grounded theory method to analyze a combination of textual and visual data in a comparative and transnational research design including nine countries across the world.
My research lays at the intersection of different fields of study, including political sciences, political communication, social movement studies and digital media studies. I graduated in Communication Sciences (Mass Communication) at the University of Padova, in 2003. I was awarded my PhD in Political and Social Sciences of the European University Institute, in 2009. From January 2011 to December 2012, I have been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Department of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to my current position, I have been a Research Fellow of the Centre on Social Movement Studies – COSMOS from 2013 to 2019 and Assistant Professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore from 2015 to 2019.
From 2015 to 2019, I worked as the Principal Investigator of the research project PiCME – Political participation in Complex Media Environments (2015-2019, Grant Agreement Number RBSI14GUJE). I have been investigating how institutional and grassroots political actors interact with different types of media organizations, professionals and technologies in their daily political activities connected to the realms of working rights and precarious labour, on the one side, and corruption, transparency and accountability, on the other side. With my research team, I examine these topics investigating Greece, Italy, and Spain. While not originally focused on distinct ICTs to struggle against corruption, PiCME triggered my interest in the many attempts to create digital platforms and services to counter corruption and I began to redirect my research in this direction, as one of my latest articles shows that covers how Italian and Spanish anti-corruption activists employ (big) digital data to sustain their campaigns.
From 2013 to 2015, I worked as a researcher in the ANTICORRP project funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (Grant Agreement Number 290529) to investigate factors promoting or hindering effective anti-corruption policies. I was part of the European University Institute team and involved in the activities of Work Package 11 focusing on accountability mechanisms. In particular, I investigated the role of civil society actors in the struggle against corruption in Italy, also paying attention to the long-standing grassroots opposition to organized crime in the country, using in-depth interviews and online questionnaires with activists. Additionally, I conducted desk research on Bulgaria, Brazil, Hungary and Spain. My participation in ANTICORRP allowed me to become familiar with corruption studies and, in the next few years, I began to work on this from the perspective of social movement studies, paying particular attention to the communicative dimension of grassroots anti-corruption activists.