Comparing protests and demonstrators in times of austerity: regular and occasional protesters in universalistic and particularistic mobilisations

J.M. Sabucedo, C. Gómez, J. van Stekelenburg, P.G. Klandermans

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Abstract

The recent economic crisis shaped a new wave of protest in Europe mobilising
thousands of people. Austerity measures brought not only the ‘usual suspects’ onto the streets, they also awoke less frequent demonstrators. What brought all these people to the streets? Are their motivations the same for participation in all demonstrations? We compare participants in two types of mobilisations against austerity: those called particularistic (which are reactions to particular anti-austerity issues), and those universalistic (which address much broader issues such as questioning the political system). We also compare two typologies of participants taking into account their participation history: regular and occasional protesters. Employing a two-by-two design defined by type of demonstration (Particularistic vs. Universalistic) and the individual’s participation history (Occasionals vs. Regulars), we found that the differences between demonstrations were smaller than those within types of protesters. Nevertheless, even in this period of hardship, motivation to participate in particularistic or universalistic protests differ depending on the perceptions of political system, ideological positioning and organisational embeddedness. Interaction analyses showed that different levels of identity, trust in institutions and satisfaction with
democracy are crucial in driving people to participate in different types of
demonstrations as occasionals or regulars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-720
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Movement Studies
Volume16
Issue number6
Early online date21 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2017

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