How National Histories Shaped the Politics of Crisis: South European Contrasts
This chapter outlines several fundamental crisis-era contrasts between the southern European cases of Portugal, Spain and Greece, arguing that the prior divergence in their national political histories—especially during the region’s transitions to democracy in the 1970s—largely accounts for the pattern of variation. Both in the road to crisis and in the handling of its effects, the countries of southern Europe have followed markedly different trajectories that are reflective of forms of political practice rooted in the democratisation pathways which initiated the ultimately global “Third Wave”. The chapter argues that large cross-case differences in the pathway followed to democracy in the 1970s—alongside several crucial “critical antecedents” in the countries’ political histories—put in place enduring differences in predominant forms of political life, a pattern of dissimilarity that has manifested itself with special clarity in the nature and place of public protest in democracy’s institutionally recognized “conversation”.
I am grateful for feedback on an earlier draft from the volume Editors and from participants in the Santander Workshop held in St. Antony’s College in May 2016. I also thank Wilfried Kisling for excellent research assistance.