Projet de thèse: Bringing Industrial Conflict Back into Social Movement Studies: A Mixed Methods Study on Contentious Politics in the Aftermath of the Great Recession in Spain
Mobilizations such as the "Indignados" or "Occupy Wall Street," which accompanied the recent economic crisis, gave new impetus to the debate about the origins and patterns of social conflict. In social movement studies, these occurrences have resulted in a seemingly contradictory trend: while the economic crisis and its negative consequences on the middle and lower classes led many leading social movement scholars to attach greater importance to capitalism and its transformations, unions and industrial conflict remain widely neglected objects of scientific study. By disregarding workers-one of the groups most affected by the economic crisis-this research runs the risk of conveying an erroneous picture.
The aim of my research about Spain is to fill this gap and to bring industrial conflict back into social movement studies. More precisely, my Ph.D. will examine to what extent concepts from social movement studies can be applied to unions and industrial conflict. Two questions will be tackled: 1) do these concepts contribute to a better understanding of industrial conflict between the outbreak of the Great Recession in 2008 and 2016? To not isolate unions and workers from other social movement organizations and instead to examine their relationships, I will ask 2) how and why did coalitions between unions and other social movement organizations evolve during this period. For both questions, the objective is not only to depict general trends but to relate them to precise micro-dynamics and processes.
For this purpose, I opt for a mixed methods and a multi-scale research design. Mixed methods relate macroscopic trends, obtained through analysis of aggregate data, with micro processes observed through a qualitative and ethnographic study. The multi-scale approach takes into account the specific logics that operate on different scales.