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Late Neoliberalism and its Discontents in the Economic Crisis

Comparing Social Movements in the European Periphery

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  • © 2017


  • Provides the first systematic comparison of contentious politics in the European periphery during the Great Recession
  • Identifies the similarities among geographically distant cases, by covering not only Southern Europe, but also Iceland, Ireland, and Cyprus
  • Advocates the need to bridge contentious politics with other fields, including political economy

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About this book

This book analyses protests against the Great Recession in the European periphery. While social movements have long been considered as children of affluent times - or at least of times of opening opportunities - these protests defy such expectations, developing instead in moments of diminishing opportunities in both the economic and the political realms. Can social movement studies still be useful to understanding these movements of troubled times? The authors offer a positive answer to this question, although specify the need to bridge contentious politics with other fields, including political economy. They highlight differences in the social movements’ strength and breadth and attempt to understand them in terms of three sets of dimensions: a) the specific characteristics of the socio-economic crisis and its consequences in terms of mobilization potential; b) the political reactions to it, in what we can define as political opportunities and threats; and c) the social movement cultures and structures that characterize each country. The book discusses these topics through a contextualized analysis of anti-austerity protest in the European periphery.

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Table of contents (9 chapters)


“The revealing and detailed country chapters provide fresh comparable data and findings on the conditions affecting the deliberative and participatory movements, the political opportunities and threats as well as their own, internal power. These findings are put in context by a powerful introduction and conclusion aimed to bridge contentious politics with fields such as political economy and point to the importance of socio-structural conditions, world-system position and the crisis of responsibility, linked to power shifts in global capitalism.” (Maria Kousis, Professor of Sociology, University of Crete, Greece)

“Countries on theEuropean periphery bore the brunt of the region’s post-2008 financial crisis, and they have also been among the most severely affected by the political fallout from the crisis.  Late Neoliberalism and Its Discontents provides a systematic comparative assessment of the economic crisis, its political management, and its social and political effects in Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Cyprus.  The contributing authors bring the analysis of economic grievances back to the forefront of the study of social movements, focusing on anti-austerity protest movements and the social actors who have taken to the streets and squares across the European periphery.  They also explore the forms of electoral protest that have weakened traditional parties and spawned or strengthened new ones in a number of different countries.” (Kenneth M. Roberts, Richard J. Schwarz Professor, Cornell University, US)

Late Neoliberalism and Its Discontents argues that while the policy response to the Euro crisis was fundamentally similar across the European periphery, as it involved “internal devaluation,” i.e. wage and price cuts, liberalization of labor markets and public sector retrenchment everywhere, the social and political response varied quite a bit across countries: in Greece and Spain it led to the emergence of new repertoires of action and new actors, including new political parties, while in Cyprus, Italy and Portugal there was no major renewal. Based on in-depth case studies of the Mediterranean countries plus Iceland and Ireland, the book explains this variation through careful reconstructions of the socioeconomic impact of the crisis and of the construction of grievances in each country.” (Lucio Baccaro, Professor of Macro-Sociology, University of Geneva, Switzerland)<

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scuola Normale Superiore Florence, Pisa, Italy

    Donatella Della Porta

  • University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

    Massimiliano Andretta

  • Nova University, Lisbon, Portugal

    Tiago Fernandes

  • University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark

    Francis O'Connor

  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

    Eduardo Romanos

  • Greek Ministry of State, Athens, Greece

    Markos Vogiatzoglou

About the authors

Donatella Della Porta is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Institute for Humanities and the Social Sciences at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy, where she directs the Center on Social Movement Studies (Cosmos). Her recent publications include Social Movements in Times of Austerity (2014) and Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research (2014).

Massimiliano Andretta is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Sciences of the University of Pisa, Italy. His recent publications include “Power and arguments in global justice movement settings” in D. della Porta and D. Rucht (eds) Meeting Democracy (2013) and “Dynamics of Individual Participation” (with D. della Porta, 2014).

Tiago Fernandes is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Nova University in Lisbon, Portugal. His recent publications include Civil Society (2014) and “Rethinking Pathways to Democracy: Civil Society in Spain and Portugal,1960s – 2014” (2014).

Francis O’Connor is Post-Doctoral Researcher on the PRIME project at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. His research areas include Kurdish politics and the conflict in Turkey, the trade union militancy in South Africa, and a forthcoming co-authored book on social movement participation in the campaign for independence in Scotland and Catalonia.

Eduardo Romanos is a Ramón y Cajal Fellow in the Department of Sociology I at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. Among his most recent publications are articles in Social Movement Studies, Contemporary European History, and Journal of Historical Sociology.

Markos Vogiatzoglou is Special Adviser to the Greek Government’s Minister of State. He holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute. His recent publications include the articles “Lost in the Ocean of Deregulation? The Greek Labour Movement in a Time of Crisis” (with L. Kretsos, 2015) and “Workers’ transnational networks in austerity times: The case of Italy and Greece” (2015).

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Late Neoliberalism and its Discontents in the Economic Crisis

  • Book Subtitle: Comparing Social Movements in the European Periphery

  • Authors: Donatella Della Porta, Massimiliano Andretta, Tiago Fernandes, Francis O'Connor, Eduardo Romanos, Markos Vogiatzoglou

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Political Science and International Studies, Political Science and International Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-35079-0Published: 08 November 2016

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-319-81718-7Published: 24 June 2018

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-35080-6Published: 29 October 2016

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XV, 307

  • Number of Illustrations: 17 b/w illustrations, 2 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: International Political Economy, European Politics, Comparative Politics

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