1st Edition

Theorizing Cultures of Political Violence in Times of Austerity Studying Social Movements in Comparative Perspective

By Joanna Rak Copyright 2018
    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    206 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    After the multidimensional financial crisis of 2008, the member states of the Eurozone imposed a set of economic policies to save their economies. Socially unpopular cuts contributed to the occurrence of violent movements that both opposed austerity policies and created animosity towards the politicians who implemented them.

    Combining qualitative and quantitative comparative analyses from anti-austerity movements in 14 Eurozone states from 2007 to 2015, Joanna Rak develops an original typology of patterns of a culture of political violence to explain why some anti-austerity movements turned to violence and others did not, despite having shared goals and political values. She uncovers the very nature of the differences and similarities between cultures of political violence, identifies their sources, and determines their differing results. Simultaneously, she opens a discussion on the exploratory and explanatory utility of the category of a culture of political violence in the Social Sciences.

    Theorizing Cultures of Political Violence in Times of Austerity casts new light on the scholarly debate on cultures of political violence and anti-austerity violent behavior, making it a compelling read for scholars of political sociology, political behavior, comparative politics, European politics, and sociology.

    Introduction  1. Theoretical Approaches towards Cultures of Political Violence  2. Post-2008 Cultures of Political Violence in the Eurozone  3. Towards the Explanations of the Sources of Cultures of Political Violence  4. Looking for the Immediate Aftermaths of Cultures of Political Violence  Conclusions and Discussion on the Limitations of the Research


    Joanna Rak is an assistant professor of Political Science and Journalism and the Chair of Political Culture at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland. In 2016 and 2017, she was a visiting researcher at CEU San Pablo University in Madrid. Her research interests are cultures of political violence, dynamics of radicalization, anti-austerity movements, political epistemic apparatuses, social mobilization, and cultural security. Her current research is on the culture of political violence dynamics of anti-austerity movements in Europe and contemporary Russian authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

    Winner of the 2019 Czesław Mojsiewicz Competition for the Best Book in Political Science

    'Why did some protest movements turn to force when others did not in times of austerity? How has it influenced political structures of the Eurozone states? In this empirically rich, methodologically advanced, and theoretically innovative book, Joanna Rak open-mindedly addresses important research problems of the sources and consequences of differences and similarities across cultures of political violence formed by the post-2008 anti-austerity movements in Europe. Not only does Rak’s study contribute to our understanding of what happened in austerity-driven societies, but it also makes an important contribution to the Social Sciences by creating and applying a compelling non-traditional research design that allows a researcher to verify methodological correctness and analytical effectiveness of theoretical frameworks. Those who are interested in how to analyze contentious politics now have an excellent work to read!' 

    Roman Bäcker, Former President of Polish Political Science Association

    'Joanna Rak has written an admirably clear, rigorously designed and conducted comparative study of European anti-austerity movements. This book does more than challenge the students of contention to think critically about conceptual and explanatory frameworks of cultures of political violence. By formulating and testing new analytical tools, the study pushes us to reconsider a traditional research process and the use of theoretical categories in comparative politics and social movement studies.'

    Adam Wielomski, President of Political and Legal Theory Association

    'This timely and innovative research allows us to understand how broad civil historical contexts shaped placid, hector-led, and militant cultures of political violence in austerity-driven Europe. Drawing upon the pieces of data in 14 languages and a comprehensive literature review, Joanna Rak creates entirely new databases for anti-austerity movements. In skillfully combining qualitative and quantitative comparative techniques, she achieves both theory-verification and theory-generation aims. The analysis makes significant methodological and theoretical advances as Rak devises a gradable theoretical category of a culture of political violence. Her original theoretical framework introduces a refreshingly new way to bring together accomplishments in the study of contentious politics and history. Rak paves the way for further research and discussion about a nature of contemporary cultures of political violence.'

    José Luis Orella Martínez, Professor of History and Political Sciences, CEU San Pablo, Spain