The Culture of Political Violence Dynamics of Anti-austerity Movements in Europe

Registration Number: 2016/23/D/HS5/00192

The Type of Research Grant: SONATA 12

Funding: National Science Centre

Duration: 04.07.2017-4.07.2020

Principal InvestigatorDr Joanna Rak

PhD, assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. In 2016-2019, she was a visiting researcher and professor at CEU San Pablo University in Madrid and Charles III University of Madrid. She worked on the following research projects: „Researching Anti-austerity Movements in Comparative Perspective”, „Basque Revitalization: The Continuance Trajectory of ETA” i „Współczesna Rosja: między autorytaryzmem a totalitaryzmem?”. The author of books and articles on contentious politics. The laureate of, i.a., Scholarship by the Minister of Science and Higher Education for outstanding young scientists, the Barbara Skarga Scholarship, START Scholarship by the Foundation for Polish Science, and Scholarship for young researchers from the Poznań scientific community. She obtained the first place in the competition of the Polish Political Science Association for the best scientific article published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal or collective work in Polish in 2016-2017 as well as a distinction in the Czesław Mojsiewicz All-Polish Competition for the best doctoral dissertation in the discipline of political sciences in 2016. Research interests: cultures of political violence, contentious politics, and social mobilization. Contact: joanna.rak@amu.edu.pl.

The major aim of the research is to explain the violent behaviours of anti-austerity movements which rose in Europe after 2007 as the opposition to the governments’ activities. The research field determined by time, territorial, and subject boundaries have to be examined in order to fulfil the aim. 1st December, 2007 is the inceptive date of the research. Then, the recession caused by the European debt crisis began. The crisis was an indirect cause of a wave of protests organised by newly-risen anti-austerity movements in Europe. The direct cause of those protests and the inception of the movements was the implementation of governmental austerity programmes which were to contribute to the states’ coming out from the crisis. The closing date is 31st December, 2015. It was the first year after the recession when the economic situation of the Eurozone states improved, i.e., the extent of fluctuation of international financial flow was minimalised, the extent of real GDP increased, a lending rate of bonds decreased, and governmental austerity programmes were quenching. Therefore, the direct justification for the continuance of anti-austerity movements, which opposed the consequences of the implementation of governmental austerity programmes, lapsed. The dates determine the time boundaries of the research field. Its territorial scope involves the Eurozone states where the anti-austerity movements occurred and organised one or more protests against governmental austerity activities. The subject research field is established by the public activities of given anti-austerity movements. A priori, those movements were nonviolent and were not to use physical violence to achieve political goals. However, this rule began being violated over time. Then, the research concentrates on the anti-austerity movements’ public activities which were expressing their consistent or changing attitudes towards political violence from their inception to the end of functioning. The category of a culture of political violence is applied to explain violent behaviours because it is a specific regulator of violent behaviours. The factors constituting a culture of political violence indicate if and to which extent the use of political violence and forbearing from its use was present in the relations between anti-austerity movements and state subjects.

In the project, the qualitative content analysis is applied, as well as research techniques and tools which are coherent with the method. Some research tools – especially analytical models – will be constructed choicely for this research to achieve diligent and maximally efficient research results. Then, data will be collected and measures will be taken to minimalize the risk of making mistake in the work on data. Piecemeal analyses will be focused on the attempts to determine the correlations between particular violent behaviours and the factors constituting a culture of political violence, and to establish what causes that anti-austerity movements change their behaviours when they are active.

The reason for choosing the research topic was the identification, on the grounds of the world specialist literature review, that there is no knowledge why anti-austerity movements displayed diversified violent behaviours. Thus, the planned research aims to establish what the cause of the use of political violence by anti-austerity movements was in some states, why in the other states, which were also overcome by a wave of protests, political violence was not used, and why the movements’ attitudes towards the usage of violence was changing or not over time. It sheds light on a cognitive value of the study. In addition, it is important to the development of civilization because it arms researchers with the devices to predict where and why violent behaviours may occur, and when the extent of the use of political violence will increase, stabilise, and decrease. Apparently, these devices are useful to formulate governmental crisis management plans which are relevant to provide the society with the protection, creation, and distribution of public security. Finally, the research contributes to the development of the field of social studies, including its disciplines: political sciences, security and defence capability studies, and sociology by creating original research tools. It enlarges on both the theory of after-2007 anti-austerity movements formulated by Donatella della Porta and the theory of a culture of political violence.

  • Rak, Joanna. 2018. Theorizing Cultures of Political Violence in Times of Austerity: Studying Social Movements in Comparative Perspective. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2019. “Relations between the Installation of Democracy and the Anti-Austerity Protest Behavior: Spanish Indignados in Comparative Perspective.” Aportes. Revista de Historia Contemporánea (Madrid, Ed. Actas) 34(99): 219–254.
  • Orella Martínez, José Luis and Joanna Rak. 2019. “Formation of Populism in Spain: Towards the Explanatory Framework of the 15-M Movement Mindset.” Środkowoeuropejskie Studia Polityczne 2: 195–211. http://dx.doi.org/10.14746/ssp.2019.2.11.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2019. “Policing Protest in the Austerity-driven Slovenia.” Przegląd Politologiczny 1: 159–171. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.14746/pp.2019.24.1.11.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2018. “Discoursive Self-Legitimation of Gals for Gals as the Movement’s Collective Identity-Forming Factor.” Cuadernos de Pensamiento 31: 121–150.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2018. “The Dynamics of the 15-M Movement’s Culture of Political Violence.” In Poland and Spain in Late Modern and Contemporary Civilisation and Culture, edited by Małgorzata Mizerska-Wrotkowska and José Luis Orella Martínez, pp. 229–256. Madrid: Schedas.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2018. “From Mobilization to Demobilization: Dynamics of Contention in the Austerity-driven Slovenia.” Środkowoeuropejskie Studia Polityczne 3: 49–64. http://dx.doi.org/10.14746/ssp.2018.3.4.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2017. “How to examine attitudes to a homeland? Towards the typology of irredentism.” Aportes. Revista de Historia Contemporánea (Madrid, Ed. Actas) 32(95): 83–115.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2017. “Intrastate, Regional, and Colonial Contributions to Post-2008 Cultures of Political Violence.” Polish Political Science Yearbook 46(1): 281–293. http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2017118.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2018. “Między relatywną deprywacją a gratyfikacją: studium poczucia bezpieczeństwa reprodukcyjnego Dziewuch.” In Studia nad bezpieczeństwem. Wielowymiarowość współczesnych zagrożeń a bezpieczeństwo jednostki, edited by Rafał Kamprowski, pp. 21–38. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Wydziału Nauk Politycznych i Dziennikarstwa Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2017. “Gnoza polityczna w Globalnej strategii na rzecz polityki zagranicznej i bezpieczeństwa Unii Europejskiej.” In Polityczno-społeczne i ekonomiczne zmiany w Europie w świetle Globalnej strategii na rzecz polityki zagranicznej i bezpieczeństwa Unii Europejskiej, edited by Mikołaj Tomaszyk, pp. 29-42. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Wydziału Nauk Politycznych i Dziennikarstwa Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2016. “Irredentyzm i kontrirredentyzm jako typy postaw wobec ojczyzny.” Principia. Pisma koncepcyjne z filozofii i socjologii teoretycznej 63: 150-173.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2019. “Relations between the Installation of Democracy and the Anti-Austerity Protest Behavior: Spanish Indignados in Comparative Perspective.” Aportes. Revista de Historia Contemporánea (Madrid, Ed. Actas) 34(99): 219–254.
  • Orella Martínez, José Luis and Joanna Rak. 2019. “Formation of Populism in Spain: Towards the Explanatory Framework of the 15-M Movement Mindset.” Środkowoeuropejskie Studia Polityczne 2: 195–211. http://dx.doi.org/10.14746/ssp.2019.2.11.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2019. “Policing Protest in the Austerity-driven Slovenia.” Przegląd Politologiczny 1: 159–171. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.14746/pp.2019.24.1.11.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2018. “Discoursive Self-Legitimation of Gals for Gals as the Movement’s Collective Identity-Forming Factor.” Cuadernos de Pensamiento 31: 121–150.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2018. “The Dynamics of the 15-M Movement’s Culture of Political Violence.” In Poland and Spain in Late Modern and Contemporary Civilisation and Culture, edited by Małgorzata Mizerska-Wrotkowska and José Luis Orella Martínez, pp. 229–256. Madrid: Schedas.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2018. “From Mobilization to Demobilization: Dynamics of Contention in the Austerity-driven Slovenia.” Środkowoeuropejskie Studia Polityczne 3: 49–64. http://dx.doi.org/10.14746/ssp.2018.3.4.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2017. “How to examine attitudes to a homeland? Towards the typology of irredentism.” Aportes. Revista de Historia Contemporánea (Madrid, Ed. Actas) 32(95): 83–115.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2017. “Intrastate, Regional, and Colonial Contributions to Post-2008 Cultures of Political Violence.” Polish Political Science Yearbook 46(1): 281–293. http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2017118.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2018. “Między relatywną deprywacją a gratyfikacją: studium poczucia bezpieczeństwa reprodukcyjnego Dziewuch.” In Studia nad bezpieczeństwem. Wielowymiarowość współczesnych zagrożeń a bezpieczeństwo jednostki, edited by Rafał Kamprowski, pp. 21–38. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Wydziału Nauk Politycznych i Dziennikarstwa Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu.
  • Rak, Joanna. 2017. “Gnoza polityczna w Globalnej strategii na rzecz polityki zagranicznej i bezpieczeństwa Unii Europejskiej.” In Polityczno-społeczne i ekonomiczne zmiany w Europie w świetle Globalnej strategii na rzecz polityki zagranicznej i bezpieczeństwa Unii Europejskiej, edited by Mikołaj Tomaszyk, pp. 29-42. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Wydziału Nauk Politycznych i Dziennikarstwa Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu