This is the time of tension: collective action and subjective power in the Greek anti-austerity movement

Evripidou, Atalanti and Drury, John (2013) This is the time of tension: collective action and subjective power in the Greek anti-austerity movement. Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest, 1. pp. 31-51. ISSN 2330-1392

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Abstract

Greece has been one of the countries which most severely suffered the consequences of
the global economic crisis during the past two years. It has also been a country with a
long tradition of protest. The present paper reports a study in which we examined the
ways in which people talk about subjective power and deal with the outcome of collective
action in the context of defeat. Subjective power has recently become a prominent field of
research and its link to collective action has been studied mainly through the concept of
collective efficacy. The current study explored questions based on recent social identity
accounts of subjective power in collective action. We examined participants’ experiences
of subjective power before and after Mayday 2012, in Greece. Two different collective
action events took place: a demonstration against austerity and a demonstration to
support steel workers who were on strike. In total, 19 people were interviewed, 9 before
the demonstrations and 10 after. Thematic analysis was carried out. Protest participants
talked about power in terms of five first-order themes: the necessity of building power,
unity, emotional effects, effects of (dis)organization, and support as success. The steel
workers we spoke to experienced the events more positively than the other interviewees
and had different criteria for success. Theories of collective action need to take account
of the fact that subjective power has important emotional as well as cognitive dimensions,
and that definitions of success depend on definitions of identity.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: John Drury
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2013 08:19
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 03:34
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/47043

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