Democracy and Popular Protest in Europe: The Iberian Case (2011)


  • Célia Taborda Silva Prof. Associate, Universidade Lusófona do Porto



Democracy, protest, Iberian, challenge, Europe


In recent years, Europe has witnessed social movements that break away from the conventional patterns typical of 19th and 20th century movements. The party-or trade union-organised social movements, very much centred on 19th century political and economic issues, or the New Social Movements centred on more universal values such as peace, environment, gender, ethnicity, of the 20th century seem to be changing their 'repertoire'. At the beginning of the 21st century, parties and trade unions have been losing their leading role in the organisation of demonstrations and strikes and collective actions prepared and led by specific actors have given way to new forms of social action, without leaders, without organisation, without headquarters, and which use social networks as a form of mobilisation. These are social movements that contest not to have more rights but to exercise those that exist, a full citizenship that offers the freedom to express one's opinion and the regalia of participation in political, economic, social, educational areas. In Europe, there are various types of such movements, but we will highlight the "Geração à Rasca (Scratch Generation)" movement in Portugal and that of the "Indignados (Outraged)" or 15 M in Spain, both started in 2011, and which had repercussions in the main European capitals. Using a qualitative methodology, through these protest movements we seek to understand how the complexity of today's social movements and their non-institutionalisation represent a challenge to European democracy.




How to Cite

Silva, C. T. (2021). Democracy and Popular Protest in Europe: The Iberian Case (2011). European Journal of Social Sciences, 4(2), 97–109.