Since 2009, Greece has found itself at the epicentre of world attention, as it has been rocked by the worst economic crisis of its modern history. With the situation still unfolding and the crisis undermining the stability of the Eurozone and global markets, the economic wisdom, the political consequences and the social sustainability of the austerity packages introduced remain the subject of heated debate. This website presents original research on the the origins, management and implications of the Greek crisis, in a comparative context, aiming to generate new theoretical perspectives about the politics of austerity within and beyond Greece.
Funded by the Carnegie Trust, this study draws on face-to-face interviews with migrant protesters, who participated in a hunger-strike in Greece in 2011.
A new wave of protest is sweeping through the world. This research explores the drivers of anti-austerity protest in Greece and maps the profile of protesters.
New Book on Austerity Politics
A new edited volume investigates the framing, policies and politics of extreme austerity in Greece in a comparative context.
The Greek crisis is of great importance for the European Union, as well as individual countries facing the prospect of having to introduce similar austerity measures. To assess the political sustainability of economic crisis management in Greece and its implications, public opinion panel data was collected, representative of the Greek adult population. Measurements were conducted in December 2010, in December 2011 and in June 2012, after the Parliamentary elections.
A number of articles have been written analysing these data and more are in the pipeline. Key questions analysed include identifying the drivers of anti-austerity protest, and assessing the impact of the economic crisis on voting behaviour. The English version of the questionnaires are available for download, along with selected data for replication.
A separate project, funded by the Carnegie Trust, analyses the mobilisation of migrant activists in Greece and explores how they have been affected by the economic crisis. Read preliminary findings and project details in the relevant section on migrant protest.
An edited book on The Politics of Exterme Austerity book has been published by Palgrave in March 2015
The widespread opposition to unprecedented austerity measures in Greece provides a unique opportunity to study the causes of mass protest. A new study funded by the British Academy analyses the results of a survey of the adult population in which two-thirds of the respondents supported protest and 29 per cent reported actual involvement in strikes and/or demonstrations during 2010.
The article, 'Who Protests in Greece? Mass Opposition to Austerity', published in the British Journal of Political Science, examines to what extent the economic circumstances of the austerity crisis or the political context of a highly developed protest culture are the primary drivers of anti-austerity protest in Greece. It finds that relative deprivation plays an important role in defining protest potential, but socialisation into taking particular forms of political action through prior protest involvement is an essential component of explaining who actually protests. The article compares the results from Greece with those of other countries facing similar challenges and discusses their implications for the future of austerity politics.
A seperate article published in Mobilization: An International Journal, explores the question to what extent the protests are just mobilizing the ‘usual suspects’ of left-wing trade union activists or a new protest generation. Results show that less than one in five participants in anti-austerity protests had been first time protesters. The article argues that the Greek protest movement has re-mobilized many of the ‘usual suspects’ but it also includes first timers as ‘apprentice’ protesters, particularly in demonstrations, who differ markedly from veteran participants.
The Electoral Impact of Austerity
Can governments that introduce extreme austerity measures survive elections? Contrary to economic voting expectations, the PASOK government in Greece initially appeared to cope quite well, claiming victory in regional elections in 2010 despite widespread anti-austerity protest.
In a forthcoming article in Political Studies, we interpret this result with the help of a post-election survey, which also covered future voting intention. The explanatory power of models based on theories of economic voting and blame attribution as well as the electoral impact of the government’s representation of the crisis as an existential threat are assessed.
Our analysis challenges the interpretation of the 2010 election as an indication of support for PASOK’s austerity policies and reveals weaknesses in its support base, which help contextualise its downfall in the 2012 Parliamentary elections. The paper also underlines the importance of studying the impact of crises discourses on voting choice, particularly since blame attribution receives little support in this case.
A pre-publication copy of the article is available for download here.
We also conducted a post-election survey in June 2012, as well as an elite survey of Greek MPs in July 2013. Drawing on these, we analysed the levels of congruence on ideology and issue-preferences. You can read the article published in South European Society and Politics here.
In January 2011, 300 migrants in Greece embarked on a hunger strike, which lasted for 44 days. Protesters sought to bring attention to their dire living conditions, exacerbated by the economic crisis and inadequate state immigration policies.
Funded by the Carnegie Trust, this project seeks to map the profile of these protesters, analyse how they got mobilised and explore their motivations and their retrospective evaluations of their actions and recent developments. Through an innovative design and a set of face-to-face interviews, this project engages with longstanding debates about who protests and why, focusing on the particular sensitive but under-researched group of migrant activists.
Initial findings and the English version of the questionnaire are available for download.