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Who Protests in Greece? Mass Opposition to Austerity

  • Wolfgang Rüdig and Georgios Karyotis

The widespread opposition to unprecedented austerity measures in Greece provides a unique opportunity to study the causes of mass protest. This article reports the results of a survey of the adult population in which two-thirds of the respondents supported protest and 29 per cent reported actual involvement in strikes and/or demonstrations during 2010. Relative deprivation is a significant predictor of potential protest, but does not play any role in terms of who takes part in strikes or demonstrations. Previous protest participation emerges as a key predictor of actual protest. This study seeks to place these results within a comparative context, contrasting Greece with other countries facing similar challenges, and discusses the implications for the future of austerity politics.

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School of Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (email: and School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow (email: Previous versions of this article were presented at the conference ‘The Politics of Extreme Austerity: Greece beyond the Crisis’, organized by the Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG) of the UK Political Studies Association, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, on 8 December 2011, and at the Instituto de Estudios Internacionales, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile, on 30 July 2012. We are most grateful to the GPSG and Stéphanie Alenda of the University of Chile for their support and the helpful comments of both seminar groups. Furthermore, we are particularly grateful to Kristian Skrede Gleditsch and the journal's anonymous referees for their insightful comments and suggestions. Financial support for the data collection was provided by the British Academy under its small grants programme; Principal Investigator: Georgios Karyotis. More details, including the questionnaire and a replication dataset, can be found on the project website, A replication dataset and online appendices are also available at

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