You are here

The political consequences of the crisis


Wednesday, 16 January 2019 to Tuesday, 12 March 2019
Total hours: 20
Hours of lectures: 20

Examination procedure

  • Report or seminar


Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Transnational Governance"

Optional for the 4th and 5th year students of the MA Programme in "Political and Social Sciences"


January-March 2020 – Lorenzo Zamponi


The Political Consequences of the Crisis:
Collective Action in Europe in Times of Economic Hardship


The economic crisis and the relative policy choices have dramatically influenced both the daily life of the citizens of Europe and the public debate throughout the continent in recent years. A long wave of political and social mobilisations has been generated, or at least shaped, by the social and economic context. In this context, research on collective action has focused in particular on three phenomena: mass mobilisation against austerity, which have filled the squares of different European countries since 2011; the emergence of new challengers in party politics, aiming at filling the void of representation determined by the crisis of traditional parties; forms of mutualistic participation that go beyond the traditional repertoire of action based on the expression of claims against the state authority and, instead, propose alternatives from below, from self-management to solidarity economy.

The development of these phenomena, though different from each other and multi-faceted within themselves, is linked to similar dynamics, which characterize the transformation of collective action in the Europe of the crisis. On three long-term processes, such as the individualisation that characterizes contemporary society, the crisis of the forms of social and political representation of the industrial age and the neoliberal transformation of the European economy, the economic crisis intervenes, accelerating them and making contradictions emerge.

The course analyses the impact of these processes on collective action. The passage from a phase of "affluence" to one of "crisis" subjects the mechanisms of collective action to a radical transformation, in the name of a general tendency towards pragmatism, concreteness, immediacy. This tendency goes through the multiplicity of phenomena of social mobilisation and political participation that have characterised Europe in the last decade.


1)      Which crisis? Long-term tendencies, abrupt change and political consequences

Thursday January 30th, 9-13


Giugni, M. and Lorenzini, J., 2014. Hypotheses on citizens’ political reactions to economic crises. In: LIVEWHAT, ed. Working paper on definition and identification of crises.

Kiess, J., 2014. On the Concept of Crisis: Definitions, Meanings, and Analyses. In: LIVEWHAT, ed. Working paper on definition and identification of crises.

Streeck, W., 2011. The crises of democratic capitalism. New Left Review, (71), 5–29.

Zamponi, L. and Bosi, L., 2016. Which Crisis? European Crisis and National Contexts in Public Discourse. Politics & Policy, 44 (3), 400–426.

Flesher Fominaya, C., 2017. European anti-austerity and pro-democracy protests in the wake of the global financial crisis. Social Movement Studies, 16 (1), 1–20.

Hutter, S. and Kriesi, H., 2019. European Party Politics in Times of Crisis. Cambridge University Press, Chapter 1.

Zamponi, L. and Daphi, P., 2014. Breaks and continuities in and between cycles of protest. Memories and legacies of the global justice movement in the context of anti-austerity mobilisations. In: Donatella della Porta and Alice Mattoni, eds. Spreading Protest: Social Movements in Times of Crisis. ECPR Press, 193–225.


2)      Social movements in times of crisis: grievances and beyond

Friday, February 7th, 9-13


Giugni, M. and Grasso, M.T., 2016. How Civil Society Actors Responded to the Economic Crisis: The Interaction of Material Deprivation and Perceptions of Political Opportunity Structures. Politics & Policy, 44 (3), 447–472.

Hetland, G. and Goodwin, J., 2013. The Strange Disappearance of Capitalism from Social Movement Studies. In: L. Cox, J. Krinsky, and G. Nilsen, eds. Marxism and social movements. Brill, 82–102.

Kurer, T., Häusermann, S., Wüest, B., and Enggist, M., 2019. Economic grievances and political protest. European Journal of Political Research, 58 (3), 866–892.

Simmons, E., 2014. Grievances do matter in mobilization. Theory and Society, 43 (5), 513–546.

Snow, D.A., 2013. Grievances, Individual and Mobilizing. In: D.A. Snow, D. della Porta, B. Klandermans, and D. McAdam, eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements. American Cancer Society.

della Porta, D., 2018. Protests as critical junctures: some reflections towards a momentous approach to social movements. Social Movement Studies, 0 (0), 1–20.

Kerbo, H.R., 1982. Movements of “crisis” and movements of “affluence” a critique of deprivation and resource mobilization theories. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 26 (4), 645–663.




3)      Anti-austerity movements in the European periphery

Friday, February 21st, 10.30-13



Accornero, G. and Ramos Pinto, P., 2015. ‘Mild mannered’? Protest and mobilisation in Portugal under austerity, 2010–2013. West European Politics, 38 (3), 491–515.

della Porta, D., 2017. Late Neoliberalism and Its Discontents: an Introduction. In: D. della Porta, M. Andretta, T. Fernandes, E. Romanos, F. O’ Connor, and M. Vogiatzoglou, eds. Late Neoliberalism and Its DIscontents in the Economic Crisis. Comparing Social Movements in the European Periphery. Cham (Switerzland): Palgrave Macmillan, 1–38.

Gerbaudo, P., 2017. The indignant citizen: anti-austerity movements in southern Europe and the anti-oligarchic reclaiming of citizenship. Social movement studies, 16 (1), 36–50.

Kavada, A., 2015. Creating the collective: social media, the Occupy Movement and its constitution as a collective actor. Information, Communication & Society, 18 (8), 872–886.

Portos, M., 2016. Taking to the Streets in the Shadow of Austerity: A Chronology of the Cycle of Protests In Spain, 2007-2015. Partecipazione e Conflitto, 9 (1), 181-210–210.

Romanos, E., 2017. Late Neoliberalism and Its Indignados: Contention in Austerity Spain. In: D. della Porta, M. Andretta, T. Fernandes, E. Romanos, F. O’ Connor, and M. Vogiatzoglou, eds. Late Neoliberalism and Its DIscontents in the Economic Crisis. Comparing Social Movements in the European Periphery. Cham (Switerzland): Palgrave Macmillan, 131–168.

Vogiatzoglou, M., 2017. Turbulent Flow: Anti-Austerity Mobilization in Greece. In: D. della Porta, M. Andretta, T. Fernandes, E. Romanos, F. O’ Connor, and M. Vogiatzoglou, eds. Late Neoliberalism and Its DIscontents in the Economic Crisis. Comparing Social Movements in the European Periphery. Cham (Switerzland): Palgrave Macmillan, 99–130.

Zamponi, L., 2012. ‘Why don’t Italians Occupy?’ Hypotheses on a Failed Mobilisation. Social Movement Studies, 11 (3–4), 416–426.



4)      Crisis of representation, new political cleavages, populism and movement parties (with Andrea Pirro)

Friday, February 28th, 10.30-13


Hutter, S., Kriesi, H., and Vidal, G., 2018. Old versus new politics: The political spaces in Southern Europe in times of crises. Party Politics, 24 (1), 10–22.

Mair, P., 2008. Representative versus responsible government. Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, No. 9.

Mosca, L. and Quaranta, M., 2017. Voting for Movement Parties in Southern Europe: The Role of Protest and Digital Information. South European Society and Politics, 22 (4), 427–446.

Padoan, E., 2017. The Populist Re-Politicization. Some Lessons from South America and Southern Europe. Partecipazione e Conflitto, 10 (2), 517–543.

Pirro, A.L.P. and Gattinara, P.C., 2018. Movement parties of the far right: the organization and strategies of nativist collective actors. Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 23 (3), 367–383.



5)      Direct Social Action in times of crisis

Thursday, March 5th, 9-13


Bosi, L. and Zamponi, L., 2015. Direct Social Actions and Economic Crises: The Relationship between Forms of Action and Socio-Economic Context in Italy. Partecipazione e Conflitto, 8 (2), 367–391.

Bosi, L. and Zamponi, L., forthcoming. Paths towards the same form of collective action: direct social action in times of crisis in Italy. Social Forces.

Forno, F. and Graziano, P., 2019. From global to glocal. Sustainable Community Movement Organisations (SCMOs) in times of crisis. European Societies, 0 (0), 1–24.

Froio, C. and Castelli Gattinara, P., 2016. Direct Social Actions in Extreme Right Mobilisations. Ideological, strategic and organisational incentives in the Italian neo-fascist right. Partecipazione e Conflitto, 9 (3), 1040–1066.




The present syllabus will be subject to changes until the beginning of the course. Last updated on November 29th, 2019.