Southern Europe in comparative perspective

Protest movements and electoral politics

What determines the prospects of contemporary protest movements – or lack thereof – to induce significant changes in electoral politics? Why have some protest movements been more effective in reshaping the electoral politics than others?

Şebnem Yardımcı-Geyikçi analyses the influence of contemporary protest movements on electoral politics. Using Southern European cases to illustrate her claims, she explains the variation by focusing on the characteristics of different party systems.

The contemporary wave of protests and Occupy-style mobilizations has been very influential in many parts of the world, from the Mediterranean to Wall Street and from there to Europe. Many scholars have noted that the rise of these movements was driven by a common set of factors, including increasing disaffection from mainstream politics, post-modernization, and globalization. In spite of the similar concerns these movements originated from, the political structure they attempted to reshape differed immensely. Interaction between protest movements and electoral politics is often underlined, yet little is known about the factors underlying this relation.

About the speakers

Şebnem Yardımcı-Geyikçi is Assistant Professor of politics in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Hacettepe University, Ankara. Yardımcı-Geyikçi’s current research concerns party politics, questions of representation, protest movements, authoritarianism, and area studies. Currently, she is an Individual Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW).

Jan Willem Duyvendak is director of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW). He studied sociology and philosophy at the University of Groningen and in Paris. His research interests include new social movements, the changing welfare state, and such themes as belonging and nativism.

Ingrid van Biezen is Professor of Comparative Politics at Leiden University. Her current research concentrates primarily on the various empirical and normative dimensions of party regulation and its implications for modern party democracy.

Fenneke Wekker (moderator) is Head of Academic Affairs at NIAS, and researcher Political Sociology at the University of Amsterdam.

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