Plebiscitarian Spirit in the Square. Key Characteristics of the Greek Indignants
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.
KeywordsIndignants 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.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Amnesty International. (2012). Police violence in Greece. Not just “isolated incidents”. London: Amnesty International Index number: EUR 25/005/2012.Google Scholar
- Ancelovici, M. (2016). Occupy Montreal and the politics of horizontalism. In P. Dufour, H. Nez, & M. Ancelovici (Eds.), Street politics in the age of austerity: from the indignados to occupy. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
- Aslanidis, P. (2016). Populist social movements of the great recession. Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 21(3), 301–32.Google Scholar
- Blee, K. M., & Taylor, V. (2002). Semi-structured interviewing in social movement research. In B. Klandermans & S. Staggenborg (Eds.), Methods of social movement research. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Blokker, P. (2012). A political sociology of European “anti-politics” and dissent (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 2168323). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.Google Scholar
- Carty, V. (2015). The Indignados and Occupy Wall street social movements: global opposition to the Neoliberalization of society as enabled by digital technology. Tamara: Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, 13(3).Google Scholar
- Castells, M. (2012). Networks of outrage and hope: social movements in the internet age (1st ed.). Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
- Colaguori, C. (2010). Symbolic violence and the violation of human rights: continuing the sociological critique of domination. International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, 3(2), 388–400.Google Scholar
- Dahl, R. A. (2006). On political equality. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Douzinas, C. (2011). Introduction. Retrieved June 22, 2011, from http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2011/06/the-rise-of-the-indignant-spain-greece-europe/
- Georgiadou, V., & Kafe, A. (2017). The indignados movement as a trigger event for far right-wing radicalization in Greece. Presented at the SEESOX Workshop for “Right-wing and left-wing radicalization in contemporary European democracies: cross-theoretical and empirical perspectives”, Oxford, June 1st.Google Scholar
- Gould-Wartofsky, M. A. (2015). The occupiers: the making of the 99 percent movement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Green, J. E. (2010). The eyes of the people: democracy in an age of spectatorship. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Grigoriadis, I. (2016). The Greece constitutional reform process: towards direct democracy and secularism? Retrieved August 28, 2016, from http://www.constitutionnet.org/news/greece-constitutional-reform-process-towards-direct-democracy-and-secularism
- Hurl-Eamon, J. (2005). Gender and petty violence in London, 1680–1720. Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar
- Jasper, J. M. (2006). Emotion and motivation. In Oxford handbook of contextual political studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Jasper, J. M., & Duyvendak, J. W. (2015). Players and arenas: the interactive dynamics of protest. Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
- Kaika, M., & Karaliotas, L. (2014). The spatialization of democratic politics: insights from Indignant Squares. European Urban and Regional Studies, 1–15.Google Scholar
- Kaldor, M., Selchow, S., Sean, D., & Tamsin, M.-L. (2012). The “bubbling up” of subterranean politics in Europe. London: Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, LSE.Google Scholar
- Karamichas, J. (2012). Square politics. Key characteristics of the indignant mobilizations in Greece. In 62nd PSA Annual International Conference. Belfast.Google Scholar
- Karyotis, G., & Rüdig, W. (2017). The three waves of anti-austerity protest in Greece, 2010–2015. Political Studies Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/1478929916685728.
- Katsambekis, G. (2014). The multitudinous moment(s) of the people: democratic agency disrupting established binarisms. In G. Katsambekis & A. Kioupkiolis (Eds.), Radical democracy and collective movements today: the biopolitics of the multitude versus the hegemony of the people. Fanham: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..Google Scholar
- Klandermans, B. (2004). The demand and supply of participation: social-psychological correlates of participation in social movements. In D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule, & H. Kriesi (Eds.), The Blackwell companion to social movements (pp. 360–379). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
- Klandermans, B. (2015). Motivations to action. In D. della Porta & M. Diani (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of social movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Klandermans, B., & Staggenborg, S. (2002). Methods of social movement research. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Kornetis, K. (2013). Children of the dictatorship: student resistance, cultural politics and the “long 1960s” in Greece. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
- Kostopoulos, C. (2013). Framing the Indignant Citizens Movement. Retrieved July 18, 2016, from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/eurocrisispress/2013/12/20/framing-the-indignant-citizens-movement/
- Kousis, M. (2014). The transnational dimension of the Greek protest campaign against troika memoranda and austerity policies, 2010−2012. In D. Della Porta & A. Mattoni (Eds.), Spreading protest: social movements in times of crisis. Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
- Kouvelakis, S. (2011). The Greek cauldron. New Left Review, 72, 17–32.Google Scholar
- Kriesi, H. (2016). Mobilization of protest in the age of austerity. In M. Ancelovici, P. Dufour, & H. Nez (Eds.), Street politics in the age of austerity: from the indignados to occupy. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
- Kuzel, A. J. (1992). Sampling in qualitative inquiry. In B. F. Crabtree & W. L. Miller (Eds.), Doing qualitative research (pp. 31–44). Newbury Park: SAGE.Google Scholar
- Matsaganis, M. (2013). The Greek crisis: social impact and policy responses. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.Google Scholar
- Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative content analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1(2).Google Scholar
- Mitsopoulos, M., & Pelagidis, T. (2011). Understanding the Greek crisis. World Economics, 12(1), 177–192.Google Scholar
- Oikonomakis, L., & Roos, J. E. (2013). “Que No Nos Representan” The crisis of representation and the resonance of the real democracy movement from the Indignados to occupy. Presented at the Street Politics in the Age of Austerity: From the Indignados to Occupy, University of Mondreal.Google Scholar
- Opp, K.-D. (2009). Theories of political protest and social movements: a multidisciplinary introduction, critique, and synthesis. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
- Petropoulos, N. (2014). A sociopolitical profile and the political impact of the Greek Indignados. An explanatory study. In N. Petropoulos & G. Tsobanoglou (Eds.), The debt crisis in the Eurozone. Social impacts. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
- Ritchie, J. (2003). In J. Lewis (Ed.), Qualitative research practice: a guide for social science students and researchers. Los Angeles: SAGE.Google Scholar
- Rosenthal, N., & Schwartz, M. (1989). Spontaneity and democracy in social protest. International Social Movement Research, 2, 33–59.Google Scholar
- Rüdig, W., & Karyotis, G. (2013). Beyond the usual suspects? New participants in anti-austerity protests in Greece. Mobilization: an International Quarterly, 18(3), 313–330.Google Scholar
- Sartori, G. (1976). Parties and party systems: Volume 1: a framework for analysis. Cambridge: CUP Archive.Google Scholar
- Schreier, M. (2012). Qualitative content analysis in practice. London: SAGE.Google Scholar
- Simiti, M. (2016). Rage and protest: the case of the Greek indignant movement. Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest, 3(2), 33–50.Google Scholar
- Tausch, N., Becker, J. C., Spears, R., Christ, O., Saab, R., Singh, P., & Siddiqui, R. N. (2011). Explaining radical group behavior: developing emotion and efficacy routes to normative and nonnormative collective action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(1), 129–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- The Economist. (2011). Europe’s most earnest protesters. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/18959259
- Theocharis, Y., Lowe, W., van Deth, J. W., & Garcia-Albacete, G. (2013). Using twitter to mobilise protest action: transnational online mobilisation patterns and action repertoires in the occupy Wall Street, indignados and aganaktismenoi. Movements (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 2221824). Rochester: Social Science Research Network.Google Scholar
- Tormey, S. (2012). Occupy Wall Street: from representation to post-representation—Open Access Library. Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies, 5, 132–137.Google Scholar
- Tormey, S. (2015). The end of representative politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Urbinati, N. (2006). Representative democracy: principles and genealogy. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Yin, R. K. (2002). Case study research. Design and methods. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.Google Scholar