Friday, May 14, 2021

Polls and parties in Malta - Michael Briguglio (2021)

In this article in the Malta Independent, Michael Briguglio discusses recent Eurobarometer, Malta Today and It-Torċa polls and their ramifications for political parties. 

Link:

Friday, May 7, 2021

Ideological and Strategic Shifts from Old Labour to New Labour in Malta - Michael Briguglio (2001)

Briguglio, Michael (2001). Ideological and Strategic Shifts from Old Labour to New Labour in Malta (Master's dissertation)

Abstract: 

On emerging victors in the general elections held on October 26th, 1996, the Malta Labour Party gave the impression that it was going to create a modern Malta, which would once and for all do away with patronage and partisan politics. New Prime Minister Alfred Sant had previously managed to cleanse his Party of its violent imagery, transforming the Malta Labour Party from one which was associated with arrogant governments lead by an authoritarian yet charismatic leader, Dom Mintoff, to a modernised party led by a relatively young and modern leader who accepted to work with all those who wanted to modernise Malta. Labour gave the impression that it was ready to work for the Citizen and not only for Labourites. New Labour only managed to stay in power for twenty-two months. Sant’s government, which had a one-seat parliamentary majority, faced an imminent problem: unsustainable national debt. His government tackled this problem by means of austerity measures, and this, together with a parliamentary rebellion by Dom Mintoff himself, as well as other factors, led to the downfall of the New Labour government in 1998. Dom Mintoff, the symbol of the Malta Labour Party for around half a century, no longer remained ‘the saviour’ for Labourites. He became a traitor. At the same time, Alfred Sant’s hold on the Party remained as strong as ever. When New Labour lost the general elections on September 5th, 1998, I was looking for a research topic for the main part of my Masters Degree in Sociology. New Labour was a temptation I could not resist. iv Hence, I decided to compare the Malta Labour Party under Sant with that under Dom Mintoff and his successor Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici. I wanted to carry out a sociological analysis, free as much as possible from myth and propaganda, to analyse the similarities and the contrasts between ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Labour. I thought that the best way to do this was to analyse the ideological and strategic shifts from the one (Old Labour) to the other (New Labour). It has taken me three long years to carry out this study, and I had never assumed that there would be so many complexities on the issue. I found out that, as far as the Malta Labour Party from 1971 to 1998 is concerned, change is neither a simple question of shifts nor a mere evolutionary process. It could include elements of both. Indeed, in this thesis it will be argued that various strategic and ideological shifts have taken place from Old Labour to New Labour. These include ideological shifts in economic policy and the role of the state as well as strategic shifts in political strategy and class and party interests. It will also be argued that on the other hand, Old Labour and New Labour shared common evolutionary features such as the ideological emphasis on the primacy of (industrial) economy, nationalism and the welfare state, and in the degree of power of the leader within the Party. In this thesis I have given much importance to the political and economic changes which took place in Malta between the 1970s and the 1990s, as well as to the value-systems in Malta during these years. v I feel that this study not only puts forward an analysis of one of the most interesting political topics of late twentieth century Malta, but also makes an interesting reading because the phenomenon of modernisation of Social Democratic parties is global, ranging from Britain to New Zealand, and from Brazil to South Africa. Indeed, I hope that the study can prove itself useful to those analysing social change both within Malta as well as for comparative purposes with processes of change in other societies.

Available at:




Monday, May 3, 2021

Collective action frames and social movements : The case of the 'front kontra l-golf kors' - Patrick Galea (2011)

Galea, Patrick (2011). Collective action frames and social movements : The case of the 'front kontra l-golf kors' (Master's dissertation)

Abstract: Social movements cannot be understood properly without references to the grievances that inspire their members to engage in collective action outside political institutions. Yet as countless situations in the world suggest, the existence of grievances by itself cannot account for the emergence of social movements. For grievances to translate into action they must first be interpreted as being problematic and also malleable. Social movement actors are thus engulfed in processes of signification, interpretation and articulation that aim to construct their object of contention into a problem in need of change, in a way that inspires others to join their struggle. These matters have been at the heart of the framing perspective, which has over the last decades established itself as a central area in social movement studies. Unfortunately, in Malta, despite the ubiquity of social movement action, general research in the area remains sparse, while movement research from a framing perspective is virtually inexistent. This study aims to begin redressing this lacuna. Informed by framing and discourse theories, this study, through the thematic analysis of numerous documents and texts, analyzes the articulation of collective action frames in the case of the Front Kontra I-Golf Kors, a broad alliance of organisations and individuals that opposed the development of an 18-hole golf course in Rabat, Malta, in a campaign between 1999 and 2004. In this regard the diagnostic and prognostic frames of the Front Kontra I-Golf Kors were found to be most salient, and are outlined and discussed in significant detail. The Front's motivational framing on the other hand, was found to be somewhat lacking. This was deemed to be due to the context of the struggle and the strategic choices of the Front Kontra I-Golf Kors. Finally, the data suggests that the campaign of the Front Kontra I-Golf Kors rested on three main themes: agricultural preservation, environmental sustainability, and the contestation of legitimacy. Although these themes feature profusely in the framing efforts of Front Kontra l-Golf Kors they are discussed separately at the end in a separate discussion that engages with the literature and roots said theme in their contexts.

Available at: 

OAR@UM: Collective action frames and social movements : The case of the 'front kontra l-golf kors'




Monday, April 26, 2021

Conservative and liberal family social movements in Malta : what motivates their activists? Jonathan Tonna (2019)

Tonna, Jonathan (2019). Conservative and liberal family social movements in Malta : what motivates their activists? (Bachelor’s dissertation) 

Abstract: The main ambition of this dissertation is to uncover what motivated activists to join local family social movements in Malta. This research was carried out using face-to-face interviews with 9 different local activists and an interpretive approach. The recruitment of this study was based on Volunteer and Snowball sampling. In this regard, the study is based on 3 main research questions, characterizing the main themes emerging from this research. These are 1) What motivates activists to join and keep active in a family social movement in Malta? 2) Do their social experiences and networks motivate their decision? and 3) How do Liberal and Conservative local family activists differ from each other? As a result of their responses, the leading conclusion which emerged from this research is that amongst other motivations; their social experiences, social inequality, religiosity and entrustment were crucial motivators for them to join local family social movements and to keep active. Moreover, this research highlights some essential differences between Liberal and Conservative activists regarding their motivation to become activists. In addition, this research also underlines some commonalities between these two, such as being motivated through their social networks and their social experiences.

Available at:

OAR@UM: Conservative and liberal family social movements in Malta : what motivates their activists?


                                             Photo: The Malta Independent

Thursday, April 22, 2021

WIPSS Seminar: Protests in the year of Covid– The case of Malta - Michael Briguglio


WIPSS - Convened by Peter Mayo, Michael Briguglio, Francois Zammit

Protests in the year of Covid– The case of Malta

Speaker: Dr Michael Briguglio

Monday 10 May 18:30

Zoom link: https://universityofmalta.zoom.us/j/94384248891

Facebook event page: (10) Protests in the Year of Covid, The Case of Malta | Facebook

This research presents and discusses physical protests that took place in Malta during 2020 – the year of Covid19 - and which gained media coverage in Malta’s main independent newspapers.

The paper will analyse the issues, organisations, coalitions, venues and type of protests in question. This will provide comparative analysis during the year, which in turn can be compared to upcoming research of protests in subsequent years.

The study will look at the groups and organisations that make up the collective actions in question; the events that form the action repertoire; and the ideas that guide the protests.

In turn, the study will look into the networks and the broader context in which movements are protesting, which in this case concerns the specific characteristics of movement and political activism in Malta as a small EU member state.

KEYWORDS: Protest, New Social Movements, Malta, Civil Society, Activism

Dr Michael Briguglio has a doctorate in sociology and is a senior lecturer at the University of Malta, within the Department of Sociology. His main research interests are politics, social movements, the environment and social policy, and he has published several scholarly contributions on these topics. He is one of the founders of the Malta Sociological Association where he currently serves as Public Relations Officer. Dr. Briguglio is a board member of Research Network 25 - Social Movements of the European Sociological Association, and a convenor of the Works in Progress Seminar Series at the University of Malta. 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Europeanisation of Interest Groups in Malta and Ireland: A Small State Perspective - Mario Thomas Vassallo (2015)

Mario Thomas Vassallo (2015). 

The Europeanization of Interest Groups in Malta and Ireland: A Small State Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan US)

The Europeanisation of Maltese interest groups: a comparative study after the first decade of EU membership. Reflections of a Decade of EU Membership: Expectations, Achievements, Disappointments and the Future Occasional Papers, 5, 1-31.

This comparative work examines the political and social context of interest groups in Malta and Ireland, two small island states at the periphery of an integrated continent. The author explores the impact of the European Union on their civil society's organizations and their gradual transformation at differing speeds and logics of Europeanization.

Abstract: 

The most recognisable and researched impact of Europeanisation is upon government structures, processes and policies. However the study of its effects on domestic interest groups is still in its infancy stage. This article addresses such a gap in academic literature by examining to what extent interest groups are being exposed and influenced by European values and style of governance. Furthermore it also seeks to identify the typology of the enablers of change that are at play. Essentially, the article adopts a comparative and empirical case study approach, making use of mixed methodology, to investigate the complexity of the core issue from the Maltese and Irish perspective, as two small island member states at the periphery of an integrated continent. Findings confirm that interest groups in Malta and the Republic of Ireland are undergoing through a process of domestic change due to Europeanisation, yet their gradual transformation is being marshalled by differing logics of change.

Link (article): Mario_Thomas_Vassallo_final12.pdf (um.edu.mt)

Link (book): The Europeanization of Interest Groups in Malta and Ireland - A Small State Perspective | Mario Thomas Vassallo | Palgrave Macmillan



Monday, April 12, 2021

Call for papers: Civil Society and Social Movements in Small States

Call for papers: Civil Society and Social Movements in Small States 

 A scholarly book on Civil Society and Social Movements in Small States is being proposed for publication by Routledge. In this regard, authors wishing to be considered to author a chapter of this book may wish to send an abstract to michael.briguglio@um.edu.mt 

The coverage of the chapter can be just one small state or a group of small states at the regional or global level. The chapter should be about 6500 words long (including references and appendices), and is to be submitted by the end of this year. Please feel free to share this post to other persons who might be interested in submitting a chapter of the book.





Polls and parties in Malta - Michael Briguglio (2021)

In this article in the Malta Independent, Michael Briguglio discusses recent Eurobarometer, Malta Today and It-Torċa polls and their ramific...