1st Edition

The Transformation of Discontent Labor Protest in Healthcare and Education Across Europe

By Imre Szabó Copyright 2025
    170 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Transformation of Discontent demonstrates that far from disappearing from the workplaces of the Global North, labor protest has merely changed character and now focuses on healthcare and education, with white-collar and white coat employees clashing with employers over wages, working conditions and professional autonomy.

    Based on in-depth case studies of protest campaigns in four European countries - Denmark, Germany, Hungary, and Ireland – this book explores the ways in which teachers, nurses and medical doctors have developed a new repertoire of contention that unites their power to disrupt services with their duty to care for service users, such as patients, children and older people.

    A study of the changes to labour mobilization including new protagonists and a shift from mass strikes to duty-based protest, this volume considers the impact of public sector unions on the labour movement and their role in renewing labour protests. It will be of interest to sociologists and scholars of political science with interests in social movements, public services, contentious politics and labour protests.

    1. Introduction - Movements of public service professionals  2. Power resources and labor disputes in public services  3. Exit or care. The resignation campaign of junior doctors in Hungary and its impact  4. Coercive power and professional autonomy in the 2013 Danish school lockout  5. Movements for systemic reform. Striking and lobbying for safe staffing in German hospitals  6. Who gets the blame for a crisis? Protest and patience in Irish public services 2009-2019  Conclusion


    Imre G. Szabó is visiting faculty at the Political Science and at the International Relations Department of Central European University, Vienna. He is the author of several peer-reviewed journal articles and co-author of Politicising Commodification: European Governance and Labour Politics from the Financial Crisis to the Covid Emergency.