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Session Overview
RN25_09a: Economic grievances and labor movement
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Mattias Wahlström, University of Gothenburg
Location: GM.330
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Czech Trade Union Organisations In Time And Space

Jiri Navratil

Masaryk University, Czech Republic

The transformation of trade unions in post-socialist realm still has not been explored in a sufficient detail. Massive transformation of economic and politics after 1989 necessarily led to the fast transformation of trade union organizations in terms of the intensity and diversity of their protest patterns but also of to their diversification through the rise of different types of spatial inequalities and even competition among them (in terms of interest representation, resources, ideology etc.).

The transformation of economic and political context did not have the same pace nor consequences and gave rise to various types of spaces for trade union organizing and strategies.

The paper aims at conceptualizing and empirical analysis of how emergence of trade unions in post-socialism is related to the economic and political character of localities, how it interacts with the frequency of protest, and how it is related to the character of protest coalitions.

Particularly, the paper asks:

- what is the difference in dynamics of emergence and protest of trade unions in different localities?

- what is the role of different political and economic context in the share of intra-sectoral and cross-sectoral ties of trade union coalitions?

- how context affects the selection of non-trade union protest partners, and how is it related to the leadership in protest organizing?

The paper builds on survey of local trade union organizations (N=42) in order to generate insights in terms of their relational strategies and context perception, register of trade union organizations, and protest event analysis of trade union protest in the Czech Republic (1989-2017).

How European Patterns of Participation Are Changing in Times of Crisis

Anders Ejrnæs, Silas Harrebye

Roskilde University, Denmark

This paper focuses on explaining the development and variation in extra-parliamentary activities, such as signing petitions, displaying political support, boycotting products, and demonstrating, in 15 European countries. In a period where several integrated crises are shaping the political landscape it is crucial for our democracy to understand the link between dissatisfaction and political activism. Through a multilevel regression analysis based on data from the European Social Survey through Round 1 – 8 the study shows how our patterns of participation have changed over time and discusses why that is. Theoretically the paper draws on a combination of various social movement theories – by combining a critical approach where participation is motivated by feelings of dissatisfaction with an institutional one in which structural conditions are seen as enablers for active participation. Our findings seem to challenge and develop the conclusions made in our previous article on this matter (Harrebye & Ejrnæs, 2015). First, in the aftermath of the economic crisis in 2008 we see an increase in protest participation. Second, despite of crisis hitting e.g. post-communist welfare states harder than more developed universal welfare states, the level of participation in the latter kinds are (still) among the highest in Europe. Third, in times of crisis the gap between satisfied and dissatisfied citizens widens in terms of who actively participates.

Note: Harrebye, S., & Ejrnæs, A. (2015). European patterns of participation–How dissatisfaction motivates extra-parliamentary activities given the right institutional conditions. Comparative European Politics, 13(2), 151-174.

How Strikes And Street Protests Relate: Combining Research on Industrial Conflict And Protest Analysis In The Study Of Contentious Politics In Spain

Nicholas George Pohl

University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Workers go on strikes and paralyze production. They also call for protests and take the streets. While there appears to be an obvious link between the two forms of contentious collective actions, they are examined largely separate in academia: researchers of industrial conflict analyze strikes, while protest analysts deal with street protests.

In this paper, I aim at establishing a broader perspective on contentious collective actions by combining research on industrial conflict with protest analysis. First, I compare the theoretical concepts used in both research areas to explain the emergence of strikes or street protests, respectively. I discuss to what extent the respective concepts overlap, where they diverge or whether they simply address different issues. In a second step, I examine the relationship between strikes and street protests empirically. Based on aggregate data provided by Spanish ministries, I analyze strike and protest patterns between 2002 and 2016 in Spain. Two issues are examined in detail: (1) the role of organized labor in the production of social contention in the streets and (2) the actual links between strike activity and street protests.

The theoretical discussion reveals that concepts emanating from the study of street protests often address issues neglected in the study of strikes and vice versa. On an empirical level, the findings show that organized labor is still the main producer of social contention in Spanish streets. Furthermore, increased strike activity is paralleled by higher protest activity. All this suggests that both research areas would benefit from a greater interdisciplinary dialogue.

Economic and Political Grievance and Participation in Protest in Central and Eastern Europe

Viktoriia Muliavka

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

In theory, grievance is supposed to enhance the likelihood of protest behaviour. Recent social movement research has found that grievance theory has not explained non-violent protest behaviour as well as political opportunity structure and resource mobilisation theories (Andrews and Biggs 2006, Dalton et al. 2010; Welzel and Deutsch 2011). I argue that because most recent grievance studies focus on macro-aspects of economic grievance, they have not sufficiently explored Gurr’s (1968) original concept of relative deprivation and subsequent literature that suggests a wider view of macro and micro forms of grievance. Building on Gurr and colleagues, I develop a typology of grievance that includes interacting economic and political forms at the macro and micro level. I theorize how the macro-level economic and political grievance interacts with these grievance forms at the micro level to influence protest. Structural conditions also matter for protest behaviour, and studies of protest in US and Western Europe predict that young people and individuals with higher education are more likely to do non-institutionalized protest (Marsh & Kaase 1979; Melo & Stockemer 2014). As an empirical illustration, I test this hypothesis on Central and Eastern Europe, predicting that negative socio-economic and political impacts of post-socialist transformations magnify micro-level grievance and push the young and the higher educated to protest. I also test how different forms of grievance (or their combinations) influence various types of protest, predicting that strength of connection could vary for different indicators. I construct macro-level indicators of economic and political grievance from World Bank, Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID) and cross-national indexes of democracy; on the micro level, I use the European Social Survey (2002-2016).

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