New Social Movements in Europe: A Critical Analysis

A Critical Analysis of Anti- Austerity Movements in West European Countries

 A Critical Analysis of Anti-Austerity Movements in West European Countries

Introduction and methodology

As the name indicates, the concept of New Social Movements is a relatively new development within the broad discipline of political science. The New Social Movements, popularly known as NSMs emerged in the post-1960 period in different part of the world as a response to the predominant mode of development policies, authoritarian tendencies of the state and exclusion of certain sections of the people in the name of race, gender, religion, class etc (Buechler, 2012). These movements were significantly different from the traditional social movements that represented the conflicts of the industrial society. NSMs represent the class/identity conflicts in the post- industrial society and are reflected through informal, decentralised, sporadic and structurally flexible campaign and movements that fight of diverse causes (Touraine, 1981).  Global Justice Movements, Anti- Globalisation movements, LGBT rights movements and Anti- nuclear weapons movements are examples of NSMs.  Ever since the emergence of NSMs, Europe witnessed eruption of such movements like the European March of the unemployed, East European Dissidence movement, British counter-cultural movement etc. In terms of reach, global implications and novelty of ideas, European NSMs were central to the history, politics and culture of European society (Fominaya & Cox, 2014).

Against this context, the proposed research attempts to study the scope, content and implications of Anti- Austerity movement within the geographical context of Western Europe with special focus on the UK Uncut movement. Anti- Austerity movements represent the mass protest against the austerity measures adopted by European states in order to address the devastating effects of global recession and the sovereign debt crisis that followed it. In many European countries, the political response to the financial crisis emphasised on austerity through bringing down budget deficit and debt (Fominaya & Cox, 2014). These austerity efforts resulted in cutting of welfare policies in many countries affecting the lives of people. Thus, anti- austerity movements were emerged as a protest against these austerity measures across Europe, although the content and structure of the movements were not similar throughout the region.

The proposed research intends to make a critical examination of the anti-austerity movement in the UK.  This proposal explains the background of the research, review of existing literature on the topic, major   research questions and methodology.

Methodology:

The proposed research intends to use qualitative methods to examine and analyse the problem. There are two stages in this research. In the initial stage, a detailed review of existing literature will be conducted to understand the nature, scope and relevance of NSM theories as well as the anti- austerity movements in Europe. The major source of data in this stage will be peer-reviewed journals, books, research reports and web based documents.  Research materials will be collected from the university library and online resources like JSTOR, Elsevier, Google scholar, Research gate etc.

In the second stage, the research would attempt to analyse the anti-austerity movements in West Europe with special focus on the UK Uncut movement. In this stage, apart from using secondary sources from books and periodicals, interview schedule will be conducted among the selected participants of the movement. 20 key participants and organisers of the UK Uncut movement will be contacted and interviewed using semi-structured and open ended questionnaire. The sample will be selected using Snowball Sampling method. Snowball sampling is a non-probability sampling method in which the existing respondents recruit other respondents through their reference. Since the researcher already knows some key participants of the movement, it is expected that the other samples can be identified using the snowball or referral sampling method. The respondents will be asked about their strategy, funding source, participation rate, impact on society, limitations etc. The data collected through interviews will be analysed using thematic coding and interpretation in accordance with the major objectives of the study.

Apart from secondary sources and interview schedule, this research will use social media as a key source of information. Face book and Twitter page of the UK Uncut movement will be examined and analysed to understand the style, social media content strategy, outreach and popularity.

A Critical Analysis of Anti- Austerity Movements in West European Countries
A Critical Analysis of Anti- Austerity Movements in West European Countries

Literature Review

In this section, previous literature on New Social Movements and literature on Anti-Austerity movements will be explained in detail. At the end of the literature review section, key questions of the essay will be provided.

Literature on New Social Movements

There is no dearth of literature on the NSM paradigm in general and anti-austerity movements in particular. This section would provide a brief review of the existing literature on NSMs and anti-austerity movements.

The term New Social Movements (NSMs) indicates a group of new movements that have emerged after the 1960s. In his study on new social movements, Buechler, stated that these movements were radically different from the conventional social movement paradigm (Buechler, 2012). There are two central claims of the NSM theory. Firstly, the new social movements are the result of the development of the post-industrial economy and, secondly, these movements are unique and different from previous social movements of the industrial economy (Buechler, 2012)

The term ‘new’ in NSMs denotes the responses to new conflicts in society. There are many scholars that explained the phenomenon of new social movements as new form of conflicts in post-industrial societies. According to Kohen, NSMs addresses ‘the identity-based conflict’ rather than old class conflicts. Therefore, the social movement researchers held the view that distinction between the old and new lies in the fact that old social movements are based on structural or class conflicts whereas NSMs are based on identity and cultural conflicts (Buechler, 2012). This was supported by scholars like Oberschall (Oberschall, 1963), Vose and Williams (Voss & Willliams, 2009), Tourine (Touraine, 1981)etc.

The historical phase in which many of the new social movements emerged in the World was characterized by the on-going crisis in post-war ideologies and institutions, such as development, the nation-state and democracy (Omvedt, 1993). Also, NSMs emerged as a protest against the inability or failure of existing movements and institutions to address the issues created by the development process and repressive state. It is the failure of the development strategy that led to the rise of small groups as agencies of people’s initiative in favour of the alienated and the oppressed (Oommen, 2004).

The exponents of NSM paradigm like Eyerman, Cohen and Wignaraja argue that the old social movements are unable to understand the dynamics of the new movements because these NSMs reflect a particular configuration of the relationship between state and society (Cohen & Rai, 2000). Across the world, the key reason for the formation of NSMs is the increasing frustration of the people towards democracy, governance and administrative policies (Eyerman, 1991); (Wignaraja, 1992).

In the NSM paradigm the integral role of ideology of these movements were studied by Alan Scott in his book which highlighted the mobilisation and interest articulation of NSMs through various means. (Scott, 1990). Cohen and Rai defined the expression social ‘movement’, and described how ‘new’ social movements emerged in the 1970s and why it is important to recognize the global social   movements which we now alerting earlier agendas for social change and political engagement (Cohen & Rai, 2000).

In recent years, there have been vibrant struggles emerging from civil society for water in Bolivia and India, for democratic reforms in Burma and Zimbabwe, anti-austerity movements in Peru, Brazil, and Argentina, urban movements in the Philippines, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic, and for a living wage in communities across the United States (Omvedt, 1993). The Occupy Wall Street Movement and Anti- austerity movements in Europe are the recent manifestations of NSM (Fominaya & Cox, 2014).

In his book, Touraine has identified the difference between old social movements and new social movements.  The following table reflects this.

Content Old Social Movements New Social Movements
Ideology Political Focus Cultural Focus
Society In Early Capitalist Societies In Advanced Capitalist Societies
Period Pre-1960’s Movements Post-1960’s Movements
Participants Class-Based Participants Cross-Class Participants
Issues raised Class-Based Issues Non-Class or Cross-Class Issues
Goals Materialist Goals Post-materialist Goals
Organization

 

Centralized: Formal and

Hierarchical

Decentralized: Informal and grass roots
Medium of

Change

Institutional, collective and political Direct, social and collective

Source: Derived from (Touraine, 1981)

There are many different definitions of NSMs because the structure, functions and objectives of NSMs are not uniform. Therefore, many scholars defined NSMs differently.  According to Manuel Castells social movements are ‘collective initiatives whose impact, in victory and defeat, transform society’s values and institutions’ (Castells, 200).

According to Scott (1990), “A social movement is a collective actor constituted by individuals who understand themselves to have common interests and, for at least some significant    part of their social existence, a common identity. Social movements are distinguished from other collective actors, such as political parties and pressure groups, in that they have mass mobilisation or the threat of mobilization, as their prime source of social sanction, and hence of power” (Scott, 1990).

Thus, NSMs are different from interest groups and pressure groups. NSMS are informal and flexible and functions in accordance with the collective interest of the society as a whole. Hence, NSMs are always in struggle with power and state. However, the pressure groups have a formal structure and they pursue the defence of corporate interests, and their relationship with the power structure is complementary (Castells, 200).

Nevertheless, the concept of NSM is difficult to define because these social movements do not have common features and its features often go beyond any particular definition. According to Mellucci, it is an approach rather than a theory. Mellucci identified the tendency to transcend class structure as the most common element of NSM (Melluci, 1994).  Secondly, they function in the forms of networks and therefore it may dissolve and reshape easily. Anderson and Sim also supported this argument and highlighted the flexible and changing nature of NSMs (Andersen & Sim, 2004).

There are mainly four theories in the paradigm of NSM. These approaches are:

  1. Collective behaviour theory
  2. Resource mobilisation theory
  3. New social movements theory
  4. The action-identity theory

Collective behaviour theories are still recognised as an orthodox approach in the studies of social movements.  The followers of this approach are Chicago school sociologists including   Ralph Turner and Lewis Killian; Talcott Parsons and Neil Smelser (Andersen & Sim, 2004).  These scholars perceived social movements as rational responses to the unfavourable conditions of structural strain between the institutions (Andersen & Sim, 2004). The second main approach to the problems of social movements is the `Resource Mobilisation‘ approach. Among its exponents are Tilly, Zald, Ash, and Kitschelt. The `resource mobilisation’ theorists point out that social movements are rational and novel responses to the new situations that emerge in society (Tilly, 1994). RM theory stresses the political nature of the new movements and interprets them as conflicts over the allocation of goods in the political market.

The third main approach is the `New Social Movements’ approach supported by Habermas, Offe and others. The `new social movements’ perspective views NSMs as the symptoms of the contradictions inherent in the modern post-industrial society. Social movements were created when the modern political and social institutions function contrary to the expectations of the people (Habermas, 1984). The main feature of social movements, according to `new social movements’ theorists is their anti-state focus and action. New social movements, in contrast to old social movements, are produced by new contradictions of society, contradictions between individual and state (Oommen, 2004).

The fourth and last approach is the `Action-Identity’ paradigm. The main representatives are Touraine and Castells. Touraine considers that social movements are far from abnormal or pathological. Social movements not only prevent social stagnation, but also promise social emancipation.  According to this approach NSMs erupt against the power and authority of the ruling classes and the groups that dominate the processes of socio-economic reproduction and shape social norms (Castells, 200).

The many approaches to the explanation of the phenomenon of social movements suggest that none of them is able to explain the emergence of NSMs in totality. Different contexts and strategies give diverse outcomes. Therefore, stressing the diversity and heterogeneity of these movements, Pierre Bourdieu came across some common features of NSMs such as (Buechler, 2012):

  • Rejection of traditional forms of political participation and favouring the horizontal structure of the movement in view of the hierarchy, meaning direct participation of the active subject.
  • They are geared towards very specific objectives. Demands that are directly related to people’s daily lives: problems derived from the shortage of housing, precariousness of employment, budget cutbacks in public health, etc. without leaving out other farther reaching problems like opposition to war or militarism in general.
  • Rejection of neo-liberalism in its various facets and exaltation of solidarity and the group and collectivity in view of special interests.
  • Effective use of modern means of communication including mass media, internet etc.

While analysing the literature on NSM it is evident that despite the differences in theoretical foundations, NSMs across the world share one important feature: it is response against institutions and policies that affect the stakeholders.  Though there is abundance of literature on NSMs, it is always interesting to study new social movements because each movement is different and reflect a particular milieu of society. Hence, different studies on NSMs in diverse cultural and social context may come up with interesting findings. Therefore, the proposed study emphasises on the NSMs in Western Europe, with special focus on the anti-austerity movements.

There is relatively less literature on NSMs in Western Europe. One of the seminal contribution is given by Krieesi in the book titled ‘New Social Movements in Western Europe: A Comparative Analysis’. In this books, the author, narrates, the policy domains of NSM in Western Europe, the basic structure, strategies of NSMs, dynamics of the movements, the cross-national diffusion of movement and finally the outcome of NSMs in the region (Kriesi, 1998).

In another study within the context of Western Europe, Koopmans, studied the NSMs and changes in political participation across West Europe. The focus of the article is on the extent of extra-parliamentary political participation generated through NSMs. The study however highlights that contrary to the claims of new social movement theorists, the increased political participation after the wave of NSMs is not so dominant in European political sphere. Unconventional mobilisation is relatively low in countries where in NSMs are strong (Koopmans, 1996).

But these to studies are relatively old and do not address the later development of NSMs in West Europe. One recent study that clearly reflects the dynamics of NSMs in West Europe is conducted by Swen Hutter. In his book titled, ‘Protesting Culture and Economics in West Europe: New Cleavages in Left and Right Politics’ he empirically analyses the distinct political culture created by protest movements across the region ( Hutter , 2014).

Another recent study on NSMs is conducted by Koca in his research on Refugee Welcome Movement in the UK. This research analyses the NSM paradigm within the context of UK and examined the mobilisation strategies, social base and ideology of NSM in the UK (Koca, 2016).

Literature on Anti-Austerity Movements

Since the anti-austerity movements share many of the core features of NSM paradigm, this research would like to analyse the NSMs in Europe with the case study of UK Uncut Movements. In the case of anti-austerity movements, the protests were not only against the economic policies of government but also against their dissatisfaction against the functioning of democracy in addressing the fundamental problems that affect the people.

Although anti- austerity movements are relatively new development in the landscape of new social movement paradigm, there are many studies that highlight the features of these movements. The literature on anti-austerity movements focuses on individual movements from different countries as well as theoretical explanations of the movements in general.

The Anti-austerity measure dates back to 2008, when a number of European countries decided to implement drastic policies to overcome the huge financial crisis after the great recession.  In their study, Groshek, identified the policies that led to the emergence of anti-austerity movements.   These austerity policies include downsizing government sector, cutting jobs, adjusting pension laws, reducing salaries and interest rates (Groshek & Al Ravi, 2015).

According to Arparia et al; the retreat of the state from welfare policies, especially lowering of salaries, cutting employment opportunities and other social safety nets affected large number of people including the young generation. This has led to the emergence of mass protest across the European countries (Arparia & Curc, 2010). Mass campaigns, street processions, protest meetings were organised by the youngsters in public spaces. The protestors also used the social media platforms to popularise the anti-austerity struggle in each country.  These movements share some common features like protest against corruption, arguments in favour of legitimate rights of the citizens and strong sentiments against inflation and unemployment (Groshek & Al Ravi, 2015).

In their study, Shefner et al; explained the rise of these movement. These protest movements started in Greece and Ireland in 2008 and moved towards other countries. The M 15 movement in Spain is another anti-austerity movement that spread shortly. In 2011, 100,000 anti-austerity protesters rallied outside the parliament in Greece to express their sentiments against harsh austerity measures (Shefner, Rowland, & Pasdirtz, 2015). In Italy, it was represented by the Five Star Party and in Greece it led to the emergence of Syriza party. In the UK, students protested against the severe austerity measures implemented in higher education sector in the country.  The Un Uncut movement is the most popular movements in the UK. Similarly, in different countries many groups emerged (Shefner, Rowland, & Pasdirtz, 2015).

Though the structure of these movements differs from each other, there are some common denominators that bind these movements together.  Lima and Artiles studied these aspects in detail. One is the extensive use of social media for popularising the movements. Face book, Twitter and Instagram were widely used for member recruitment, mobilisation, fund raising and organising campaigns (Lima & Artiles, 2013).  Secondly, majority of these movements represent the economic hardship suffered by the members of the movement as a result of austerity measures. Thirdly, these movements were influenced by cross-national processes of inspiration, knowledge sharing and learning (Fominaya & Cox, 2014).

While analysing the anti-austerity movements, it can be assumed that they represent NSMs rather than old social movements because of the following reasons (Fominaya & Cox, 2014):

  1. The anti-austerity movements represent the interest of different class of people affected by the economic policies of the government. There are pensioners, tax payers, students, youth and unemployed people. The old social movements were basically working class movements.
  2. The issues that are taken up by the anti-austerity movements include cross- class issues and represent a wide variety of problems confronted by the common people rather than issues of working class alone.
  3. Unlike the old movements which were rigid, hierarchical and structured, the anti-austerity movements are loose, flexible, decentralised and informal.
  4. The medium of propaganda in old social movements are traditional media and meetings where as in the anti-austerity movements it is conducted through social media, new media and other public platforms.
  5. NSMs are characterised by the representation of large number of youths. In the anti-austerity movements, in many countries, the movements were led and organised by youngsters who are most affected by the austerity measures.

One of the   seminal contributions on the literature of anti-austerity movements was given by Fominaya and Fox in their study on the nature of European social movements. They argue that NSMs of Europe are indeed continuation of the NSMs that began to emerge in 1960s and 1970s. Though these movements share global features, each movement also have its unique national character. Thus, the 15-M movement is different from Occupy movement though both share common elements (Fominaya & Cox, 2014). Further, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the new social movements in Europe.

Lima and Artiles studied the youth participation in the anti-austerity movements of Southern Europe.  The paper also examines the factors that influence the participation of youth in these movements and identified increasing unemployment, lack of educational opportunities and lack of satisfaction with the democratic institutions as the key reasons behind the participation (Lima & Artiles, 2013).

Shefner and Stewart studied the anti-austerity movements in Latin America and identified economic hardship as the key reason for the rise these protest movements (Shefner, Rowland, & Pasdirtz, 2015). In another similar study, Booth identified the decrease in standard of living of the people and resultant frustration as the major reasons for the rise of anti-austerity movements across the world. According to Booth et al, “there is an important link between becoming impoverished and popular unrest’ (Booth, Wade, & Walker, 2005).

Another important factor that contributed to the rise of anti- austerity movements is the perception of threat. Almeida argues that anti-austerity movement emerged from the fear that that the existing benefits and opportunities will be taken from the affected people and new forms of harm will be inflicted soon. This forces the people to join together and collectively fight for their rights (Almaeda, 2008).

Vittorio Sergi and   Markos Vogiatzoglou made a comparative study of the two anti-austerity movements of the Mediterranean region-Tunisian and Greek- and concluded that these movements share both local and global characteristics (Sergi & Vogiatzoglou, 2013).

Kaldor et al, studied the emerging movements in the entire Europe and perceived them as the bubbling up of ‘subterranean politics’. The study also concluded that it was the extreme frustration with the existing form of governance that forced the people to protest against the austerity measures across the region (Kaldor, Selchow, Deel, & Tamsin, 2012).

Rudig and Karyotis studied the structure of the anti-austerity movement and highlighted the increasing participation of first time protestors in the movement (Rüdig & Karyotis, 2013).

In another study, Peterson et al; studied the social composition of the anti-austerity movements in Western Europe. The study particularly focused on the representation of working class people in these movements are argued that regardless of the economic interest of these movements, the representation of labour class people was relatively lower in all the countries (Peterson, Wahlstrom, & Wennerhag, 2015).

There are many other studies on the anti-austerity movements in Europe. But the scholarship is mainly focused on Southern Europe and Eastern Europe. There are limited studies on anti-austerity movements in the UK.

Similarly, there is limited research on UK Uncut movement. In his study, Worstall critically examined the UK Uncut movement and argued that many of the accusations of the campaign is baseless and wrong. He further says that the basis on which the entire movement was built doesn’t have strong foundations (Worstall, 2011).

In another study, Gamson and Sifry studied the features of the anti-austerity movement, the use of social media and its impact on the Spread of the movement and finally the general lessons to be learned from the movements include the UK Uncut movement (Gamson & Sifry, 2016).

Another interesting research on the resistance politics in general and UK Uncut movement in particular is done by Kaldor in his study that analysed the emergence of Sub-terranean politics across Europe.  The use of social networking sites, increased focus on democratic reforms and participation in policy debates etc. were perceived as the new symbols of bubbling resistance politics in the Europe and the UK (Kaldor & Selchow, 2013).

Gerboudo studied the collective leadership style of the UK Uncut and other movements with special emphasis on their formation and composition, internal structure, coordination techniques, struggle over social media leadership roles etc. The study argues that these movements always faced leadership struggles due to the lack of formal structure and functions. Collective and informal leadership structure often created problems in the working of these movements (Gerboudo, 2017).

In another study on Anti- austerity movements, Gerboudo examines the nature of these movements and motivations of the people who participate in it.  After conducting a detailed field study, he argues that the idea of citizenship is changing in Europe and people wants to assert their citizenship in terms of increased participation in decision making, freedom of expression against corruption and popular expression against economic problems. He further argues that anti-austerity movements can be redefined as a unit of social cohesion and a possible means of people’ power (Gerboudo, 2017).

In his article, Hayes argues that the anti-austerity movements represent various inter-connected regimes including political, fiscal, ideological and civic. The transformative potential of these movement and the mobilizations they represent, are directly related to the building of an alternative economic principles based on ethics, solidarity and civic equality (Hayes, 2017).

From the review, it is evident that majority of the literature on NSMs and Anti-austerity movements f focusses on other regions of Europe with limited research on the dynamics of these movements in Western Europe. Similarly, the UK uncut movement is not studied separately. Most of the research on the UK uncut movement is conducted as part of the other movements. Yet another limitation of the research is over-emphasis on the social media aspects of these movements rather than studying the motivation and composition of the people joining in these movements.

Against the context of the review of literature this essay raises the following questions.

  1. Can Anti-austerity movements considered as New Social Movements?

Anti- austerity movements can be considered as NSMs because NSMs represents the new conflicts   in society against the anti-democratic policies of the state. NSMs are different from the traditional working class movement and emerged against the ongoing crisis in political institutions and the inability of political parties to represent their problems. NSMs have informal structure and flexible strategies. It is based on mass campaigns using the potential of social media. Anti- austerity movements qualify all these criterion- they reflect the protest against state and policies, represent people from all sections of society, loose and informal structure; use social media for spreading message and campaign. Therefore, we can consider Anti- austerity movement as NSM.

2. What are the major strategies of Anti-austerity movements?

 One of the strategies is to build a strong alliance of like-minded people and organisations that protest against the economic policies of government. Secondly social media and Face book is used as the pillar of mass recruitment and planning of campaigns. Since most of the youngsters are attracted to social media and other online platforms, it is perceived as an effective strategy to recruit and mobilise members. Fund is also raised through FB posts.  Mass processions and street rallies with protest slogans were used as strategies to attract popular support. In many countries civil disobedience was also used as a strategy.

  1. What are the major features of the UK Uncut movement?

 UK Uncut movement tried to create a platform for collective action encompassing people from all walks of like including students, workers, teenagers and veterans. They organised mass processions, protest march and online campaigns against the unpopular austerity policies. The movement started from a face book group and soon grew big. It is a flexible, mass-based and informal network of different local groups. The local groups can organise action and mass protests in streets and in front of the offices of large corporate and government institutions. Though the movement organised more than 800 protest actions, the structure remained to be informal and decentralised. They also offer alternatives to austerity measures. The most   important feature of the movement is use of civil disobedience as key strategy to protest against government policies.

 4. How does the UK uncut movement recruit participants?

There is no formal recruitment method. Anybody who wants to express their protest against the austerity policies can join the movement any time. The propaganda and campaigning for recruitment is conducted through Facebook group of UK Uncut movement and other online platforms. The three core features are: Cooperation, innovative methods and understanding on the use of new technology to harness the benefit.

  1.  What were the impacts of UK Uncut movements?

There is no direct impact at the policy level. However, the movements’ popularity and mass participation influenced the government and public institutions to retreat from unpopular and extreme austerity measures.  The other impact of the movement is yet to be explored empirically.

Conclusion

The above analysis shows that he most common characteristic of a NSM is its tendency to transcend class structure.  It is impossible to define new social movements using one pattern mainly because they are movements and not traditional political parties. Secondly, they are structured in networks which enable them to expand and/or disappear suddenly. Thirdly, they have made diversity one of their main distinguishing features. While considering these features, we can assume that anti-austerity movements are one form of NSMs that have emerged in the post-recession Europe.

From the review of literature it is evident that the anti-austerity movement represents a paradigm shift in conventional studies on social movements and emphasis on the redefinition of mass power and politics.  Many of the new social movements emerged in Europe in general and West Europe in particular was characterized by the crisis in newly emerged post-recession ideologies and institutions, such as austerity, social security cuts and retreat of welfare state. Also, these, NSMs emerged as a protest against the inability or failure of existing movements and institutions to address the issues created by the development process and retreating state. The new movements are seen as revolts against all these and are viewed as potentially capable of renewing contacts with masses and getting constant feedback from them. Unlike the traditional left, which believes in violent revolution as midwife of change, these new social movements are held to believe in nonviolent struggles at grass roots level (Almaeda, 2008). They favour a steady upliftment and empowerment of the weak and the vulnerable for a smooth transition to an egalitarian social order.

The old theories of social movements do not help us understand the local and cultural dynamics and processes of these new movements. This is mainly because the new movements are originated as a result of a particular formation of relations among the state, society, and the economy that emerged during the 19th and 20th centuries. These centuries witnessed the growth of developmental and interventionist states that intervene in almost all aspect of life.  In this way, gradually, these powerful states were able to subordinate both the economy and civil society.

Apart from that, the penetration of market economy into the life of people created new equations in state- society relationship. State was unable to protect the interest of the people who faced challenges from market forces.  The increasing frustration among the people resulted in formation of new social movements across the world.  As a result, we have seen an explosion of local social movements around the world. In recent years there have been vibrant struggles emerging from civil society, especially in the entire Europe including the UK.

While analysing the literature, it is evident that most of the prevailing literature on anti- austerity movements, however, focuses on Greece, Portugal, Spain and other South European countries. There is relatively less scholarship on the anti- austerity movements in West European countries. Also, there is hardly any study on the UK Uncut movement. Hence, the proposed research intends to fill the gap in existing research through the study on West European anti-Austerity movements with special focus on the UK Uncut movement. The research would analyse the reasons for the emergence of the movement, structure of the movement, mobilization strategies and role of social media in popularising the movement.  Since there are no previous studies on the UK Uncut movement, this research will contribute to the theory and application of New Social Movements in general and anti-austerity movement literature in particular.

As discussed earlier, this research study tries to explore how these movement have opened up a new era in the history of subaltern political renaissance and new social movement. For this purpose, the study argues that new social movements focus on the notion of autonomy over resources, resistance identity, fight against the neo-liberal state and all other forms of oppression. The study will also address the mechanisms through which how these local movements are articulated in such a way that it challenges the macro-level power relations. Above all the study will explore how the movement activism attempts to alter the social, political and material relations in favour of the communities.

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