British Politics

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 68–92 | Cite as

Contending the crisis: What role for extra-parliamentary British politics?

  • David J Bailey
Original Article


This article argues that the existing literature focusing on the effects of the global economic crisis on, and the subsequent change in, British politics have thus far failed to adequately consider the role of extra-parliamentary political activity. The present article partly responds to this absence by presenting the results of event data analysis covering a period from December 1978 to December 2012. The key trends observed are a cycle of contention that occurred between the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and the end of 2011, in addition to a general rise in the numbers of extra-parliamentary events; a shift towards a new form of materialist politics; an initial rise in the confrontational nature of extra-parliamentary activity, followed by a move towards a more informational form; and the emergence of two new key actors within British extra-parliamentary politics – anti-cuts campaigners and radical activists. Although these trends do not appear yet to be producing corresponding policy outcomes, the article suggests that we might be witnessing signs of cultural change resulting from the rise of extra-parliamentary British political activity.


British politics extra-parliamentary politics social movements political participation global economic crisis 



Earlier drafts were presented at the ECPR SGIR Conference, Stockholm, 2010, and the ECPR General Conference, Reykjavik, 2011. The author acknowledges comments by Saori Shibata, Owen Worth, Ian Bruff, Liam Stanley, David Chandler, the anonymous reviewers, and the editorial guidance of Peter Kerr.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J Bailey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and International StudiesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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