Plebiscitarian Spirit in the Square. Key Characteristics of the Greek Indignants

  • Vasiliki GeorgiadouEmail author
  • Anastasia Kafe
  • Spyridoula Nezi
  • Costis Pieridis


The onset of the economic crisis and the austerity measures outlined in the EU\IMF bailout were followed by a series of large-scale protests in Greece. The continuous mobilization, for several weeks, of the Indignant Citizens was a distinct part of the overall events during this period. In this article, we focus on the mass mobilization of protesters who occupied Syntagma Square in May–June 2011. For our analysis, we conducted semi-structured interviews with the protesters involved in the mobilization. Focusing on their political attitudes, the article approaches their perspectives on democracy. Our results suggest that the Indignants’ acceptance of an idealized form of democracy on the one hand, and the distrust of parliamentary practices, actors, and performance on the other, signify a demand for a new politics beyond the framework of representative democracy. Disappointment with representative politics and the glorification of direct democracy constitute the most important facets of this mobilization which left its mark on the Greek political scene.


Indignants Greece Protest Democracy Anti-systemness Violence 



The authors would like to express our very great appreciation to all the anonymous participants in the indignants’ protest that were willing to share their opinions and beliefs. We are also grateful to the attendants of the Dissemination Conference of the CAICG Project “Collective Action of Indignant Citizens in Greece: causes, content, agency, and implications for policy makers” (Thessaloniki, October 30th, 2015), where previous version of this paper was presented, for their comments and suggestions. We wish to acknowledge the help provided by Zoi Lefkofridi and Vera Tika in data analysis process and finally, we would like to thank the Editor and the blind reviewers for their very thoughtful critiques on the previous draft of this article.


This study was funded by CAICG project: Collective Action of Indignant Citizens in Greece: causes, content, agency, and implications for policy makers—EU Framework Program “Aristeia II.”

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Author Vasiliki Georgiadou declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Author Anastasia Kafe declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Author Spyridoula Nezi declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Author Costis Pieridis declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vasiliki Georgiadou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anastasia Kafe
    • 1
  • Spyridoula Nezi
    • 2
  • Costis Pieridis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and HistoryPanteion UniversityAthensGreece
  2. 2.EUROLAB-GESISKölnGermany

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