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Austerity And Protest: The Cases of Portugal and Spain During The Great Recession

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In 2011, as a consequence of the Great Recession, both Portugal and Spain saw the emergence of anti-austerity movements and protests. Despite the many similarities between these countries the cycles of protest were different regarding its intensity, claims, repertoires, actors and outcomes. Taking this contrast into account, the paper analyses the evolution of the anti-austerity political field of contention in these two countries between 2008 and 2015. This involves describing the links between institutional and non-institutional actors, both to understand how protests are shaped by institutional actors, but also how protests impact institutional politics. Exploring the formative context and the phases of mobilization and institutionalization of this cycle of contention, this paper argues that the differences between countries should be understood in relation to the dynamics of the politic field and how this shapes democratic politics. The paper is based on a multi-method approach (combining protest event analysis, participant observation and interviews) and entails a systematic paired comparison of the links of these actors in Portugal and Spain throughout the anti-austerity cycle of protest.

This talk is part of the Wolfson Research Event 2017 series.

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