Quaranta, M. ‘Protesting in ‘hard times’: Evidence from a comparative analysis of Europe, 2000-2014.’ Current Sociology 64.5 (2016): 736-756
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Abstract

This article aims to demonstrate that during an economic crisis political protest increases. Recently, economic performance has suddenly worsened in Europe after a period of relative prosperity. The economic crisis affects citizens, who may turn to political protest to voice their discontent. However, the literature on social movements has often dismissed the link between economic performance and political protest, arguing that dissatisfaction is not sufficient for mobilization. Despite this argument, in the wake of the ‘Great recession’ that hit Europe, some scholars have argued that the economic crisis has been a factor in the mobilization of political protest. Nonetheless, a broad assessment of the link between the economic crisis and political protest has yet to be carried out. Based on a comparative longitudinal analysis of 25 European countries between 2000 and 2014, this article complements recent publications on the topic, and shows that economic performance, measured using both objective and subjective indicators, has a strong association with the number of political protests. The literature on the topic has not always presented conclusive results on this association. In contrast, this article provides updated and clear findings showing that the state of the economy matters for mobilization.

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