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European Anti-Austerity Protests: Beyond “old” and “new” social movements?

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Abby Peterson
Mattias Wahlström
Magnus Wennerhag
Publicerad i Acta Sociologica
Volym 58
Nummer/häfte 4
Sidor 293-310
ISSN 0001-6993
Publiceringsår 2015
Publicerad vid Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap
Centrum för Europaforskning (CERGU)
Sidor 293-310
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1177/0001699315605622
Ämnesord anti-austerity protest, class identification, Indignados (15M), labour movement, Occupy, protest survey
Ämneskategorier Sociologi, Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)

Sammanfattning

This article explores the social composition of participants in anti-austerity protests taking place in Belgium, Italy, Spain and the UK between 2010 and 2012, based on over 3000 questionnaires distributed to protest participants according to a standardized method. Employing a distinction between three types of mobilizations, we compare protests anchored in the traditional ‘old’ labour movements, protests by smaller radical leftist unions and parties, and the ostensibly newer kinds of mobilizations in the form of Indignados and Occupy protests. Although easily forgotten, we argue that the two former types of anti-austerity protests deserve equal attention from researchers. We conclude that there are significant differences between the protest categories in terms of socio-demographic characteristics of their participants, but the participants nevertheless appear to maintain surprisingly similar political values across demonstration types. Class identification also differed. The participants in the Indignados/Occupy protests had a markedly lower degree of identification with the working class – regardless of the ‘objective’ labour market position and controlling for country differences. These aspects relate to the classic distinction between ‘old’ and ‘new’ social movements, but we argue that it risks obscuring a more complex pattern of similarities and differences between different anti-austerity mobilizations.

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