Discarding protests? Relating crisis experience to approval of protests among activists and bystanders
To what extent does the economic crisis affect support for political protest? Since the outburst of the financial crisis in 2008 many protests have been mobilized against national governments and their austerity policies. In some countries, these actions were described in the media as having little support among the general public, while elsewhere these actions enjoyed significant public support. Surprisingly little scholarly work has examined this variation. We fill this research gap by investigating who approves of austerity protests, how bystanders’ attitudes differ from the activists’ approval of protests and how repertoires relate to the approval of austerity protests. The analysis uses original survey data from nine European countries affected by the recent economic crisis at varying degrees and demonstrates that protest experience, both at the country and individual level, relates to approval of anti-austerity protests. The severity of economic crisis increases is positively related to protest approval in general terms, but there are differences depending on the type of grievances and which forms of austerity protests are considered.
KeywordsProtest Attitudes Bystanders Repertoires Economic crisis
- Ajzen, I. 1988. Attitudes, personality, and behavior. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.Google Scholar
- Ajzen, I., and M. Fishbein. 2005. The influence of attitudes on behavior. In The handbook of attitudes, ed. D. Albarracín, B.T. Johnson, and M.P. Zanna, 173–221. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Publishers.Google Scholar
- Barnes, S.H. and M. Kaase. 1979. Political action: Mass participation in five western democracies. Beverley Hills and London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Bernburg, J.G. 2015. Economic crisis and popular protest in Iceland, January 2009: The role of perceived economic loss and political attitudes in protest participation and support. Mobilization 20 (2): 231–252.Google Scholar
- Crozat, M. 1998. Are the times a-Changin’? Assessing the acceptance of protest in western democracies. In The Social Movement Society: Contentious Politics for the New Century, ed. D.S. Meyer, and S. Tarrow, 59–81. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Della Porta, D. 2015. Social movements in times of austerity: Bringing capitalism back into protest analysis. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
- Della Porta, D., M. Andretta, A. Calle, H. Combes, N. Eggert, M. Giugni, J. Hadden, M. Jimenez, and R. Marchetti. 2015. Global justice movement: Cross-national and transnational perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Eurostat. 2016. Eurostat Statistics. Luxembourg: Eurostat.Google Scholar
- Fominaya, C.F., and L. Cox (eds.). 2013. Understanding European movements: New social movements, global justice struggles, anti-austerity protest. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Fuchs, D., and D. Rucht. 1992. Support for new social movements in five Western European countries. A new Europe? Social Change and Political Transformation, 86–111. Londres: UCL Press.Google Scholar
- Gamson, W.A. 2004. Bystanders, public opinion and the media. In The blackwell companion to social movements, ed. D.A. Snow, S.A. Soule, and H. Kriesi, 242–261. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Giugni, M., and M. Grasso (eds.). 2015. Austerity and protest: Popular contention in times of economic crisis. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
- Gurr, T. 1970. Why men Rebel. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Hofer, M. and M. Mexi. 2014. Empirical assessment of the crisis: a cross-national and longitudinal overview. In: LIVEWHAT WP1 Report, Working paper on definition and identification of crisis. Retrieved from http://www.livewhat.unige.ch/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/LIVEWHAT_D1.2.pdf. Accessed 29 Feb 2016.
- Kousis, M. 2013. The transnational dimension of the greek protest campaign against troika memoranda and austerity policies 2010–2012. In Spreading protest: Social movements in times of crisis, ed. D. Della Porta, and A. Mattoni, 137–170. Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
- Kriesi, H. 2015. Political mobilization in times of crises: The relationship between economic and political crises. In Austerity and protest: Popular contention in times of economic crisis, ed. M. Giugni, and M. Grasso, 19–33. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Ortiz, I., S. L. Burke, M. Berrada, and H. Cortés. 2013. World protests 2006–2013. Initiative for policy dialogue and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York Working Paper.Google Scholar
- Passarelli, F. and G. Tabellini. 2013. Emotions and political unrest. CESifo Working Paper Series 4165.Google Scholar
- Schraad-Tischler, D. 2015. Social Justice in the EU - Index Report 2015. Social Inclusion Monitor Europe. Bertelsmann Stiftung. Brussels. https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/en/publications/publication/did/social-justice-in-the-eu-index-report-2015/.
- Sotirakopoulos, N., and C. Rootes. 2013. Occupy london in international and local context. In Spreading protest: Social movements in times of crisis, ed. D. Della Porta, and A. Mattoni, 171–192. Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar