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Austerity, Protest and the Making of a European Public Sphere? Social Movements and Responses to the Eurozone Crisis in Spain and Greece

Angela Bourne, Sevasti Chatzopoulou

In this paper we develop a theoretical framework and innovative comparative research design for research on citizen responses to the Eurozone crisis in Spain and Greece. Empirically, the research project aims to examine Europeanisation in the context of citizen protest channelled through social movements like the indignados (indignant) in Spain and αγανακτησμένοι Ελληνες (enraged citizens or indignant) in Greece. Drawing on existing research on Europeanisation of social movements and the public sphere (Imig and Tarrow, 2000; Della porta, and Caiani 2007, Koopmans and Statham, 2008 and 2010) the project addresses the following research questions: 1) How do social movements in Spain and Greece mobilise to contest EU decisions: Or more specifically a) to what extent do they target domestic over European level institutions, and b) to what extent (and how) do these social movements collaborate with other groups transnationally? 2) To what extent do social movements develop shared conceptions and ideas about causes, consequences and solutions to the crises, and to what extent do they 'learn' new repertoires of collective action from each other? 3) Given the depth of economic and political crisis in these countries, the clear link between national policy outcomes and EU decisions, and communication technology innovations, are there stronger Europeanisation effects on the conduct of social movements and the articulation of grievances than that observed in previous studies? 4) How can variation in patterns of social movement behaviour in different countries be explained? A key focus of the paper is how a wider range of methods than conventionally employed in research on the Europeanisation of social movements may developed, including the question of how protest event analysis can be integrated with discourse and social network analysis.

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