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Does class matter in anti-austerity protests?: Social class, attitudes towards inequality, and political trust in European demonstrations in a time of economic crisis
Lunds universitet.
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3886-0298
2015 (English)In: Austerity and Protest: Popular Contention in Times of Economic Crisis / [ed] Marco Giugni & Maria T. Grasso, Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, 83-107 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this chapter, we compare the class composition of four types of anti-austerity demonstrations—Occupy/Indignados, trade union, May Day and other anti-austerity protests—with “new social movement” demonstrations. This allow us to, firstly, scrutinize whether contemporary anti-austerity protests attract more participants from the lower classes—in particular the working class—than from the upper strata. Since austerity policies tend to affect the general population differently, and in particular worsen the social conditions for the lower classes, it is interesting to see whether these policies mobilize the groups that are primarily affected by them. In this comparison, we explore and analyze survey data from 75 demonstrations collected within the research program “Caught in the Act of Protest: Contextualizing Contestation” (CCC). Secondly, we use the same data to examine the impact of social class on political attitudes among protesters, focusing issues that have been at the forefront during the last few years’ wave of protest: deepening social inequality, welfare privatization, and distrust in political elites. This analysis allow us to scrutinize to which degree the “framing” of the protests possibly contributes to the demonstrators’ attitudes towards austerity measures, economic inequality and their governments—or if the attitudes of the protesters are best explained by their individual social class, or even the national context in which the demonstration takes place.Social class is measured in two different ways. First, with the recently developed occupation-based Oesch class scheme, in which class is conceptualized as the individual’s “objective” position in the labor market. Secondly, we focus individuals’ self-categorizations of which class they belong to, i.e. their class identity, which can be seen as the “subjective” side of class. Our analysis also show the different merits of these two conceptualizations of class for analyzing political protests.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Farnham: Ashgate, 2015. 83-107 p.
Keyword [en]
anti-austerity protests, social movements, demonstrations, class
National Category
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28801ISBN: 978-1-4724-3918-5 (print)OAI: diva2:874700
Available from: 2015-11-27 Created: 2015-11-27 Last updated: 2016-09-21Bibliographically approved

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