At the Closing workshop of the FRINGE politics research network on citizen-led mobilization in Southeastern Europe, which was held on 30-31 March 2017 at the Queen Mary University of London, Danijela Dolenec presented some throughts orienting future work on her project Disobedient Democracy.
Danijela focused on the need to employ a political economic analysis in order to understand conteporary contentious politics. As recent literature reviews show, in the 60s-80s social movement studies were embedded into conflict theories, Marxist traditions and discussions about how capitalism influences the emergence and trajectory of movements. But when capitalism became hegemonic with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, it simultaneously disappeared from social movement analyses. Not only has the field become characterised primarily by case studies, but the tendency to treat protest events as episodes made them even harder to integrate into a polit-economic framework. What would a political economic framework entail? One possible approach is to employ the insights of the varieties of capitalism framework, which argues that European economies are clustered into distinctive varieties of capitalism (Bohle and Greskovits, 2013; King, 2007; Nölke and Vliegenthart, 2009). In our analysis we should therefore start from the assumption that the unifying framework of post-2008 crisis is valid for the whole of Europe: liberal policies of economic integration and the multiple crises that ensued have created new groups of winners and losers, along the lines of Kriesi’s analyses of the demarcation/integration cleavage in Europe. In the next step, a political economic approach should help us figure out the “social makeup” of these groups: who they are, how large, and how the political economic framework, together with existing cleavages and past political conflicts, creates the parameters for their politicization.