Following the subprime lending crisis and the financial market crash of 2008-9, governments throughout Europe implemented a series of debt reduction measures collectively known as austerity. Across the continent, citizens and social movements mobilized dramatically against these measures, calling strikes, occupying public squares, and developing new forms of political action. These movements challenged the political and economic elite consensus that there was no alternative to cutting spending, and protecting the financial industry at the expense of the public sector; they also challenged the political systems that gave rise to these measures and assumptions, demanding democratic renewal, and imagining new modes of citizenship and political participation. In order to better understand this wave of protest – its common themes, its local contexts, its ideas and its actions – this collection brings together leading scholars in the field to provide a series of theoretically grounded, empirically rich analyses of Europe's anti-austerity mobilizations. This book was originally published as a special issue of Social Movement Studies.
Introduction 1. European anti-austerity and pro-democracy protests in the wake of the global financial crisis 2. Regimes of austerity 3. The indignant citizen: anti-austerity movements in Southern Europe and the anti-oligarchic reclaiming of citizenship 4. The children of the Carnation Revolution? Connections between Portugal’s anti-austerity movement and the revolutionary period 1974/1975 5. Dissenting youth: how student and youth struggles helped shape anti-austerity mobilisations in Southern Europe 6. Polanyi, political-economic opportunity structure and protest: capitalism and contention in the post-communist Czech Republic 7. Competing modes of coordination in the Greek anti-austerity campaign, 2010–2012 8. Life after the squares: reflections on the consequences of the Occupy movements