Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Why has Irish anti-austerity protest not matched Spanish levels?

The NUIM Department of Sociology, one of CEESA's two parent departments, will be hosting Dr Cristina Flesher Fominaya for two years from autumn 2013. Dr Flesher Fominaya has been awarded the prestigious Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship for a research project entitled ‘Contentious politics in an age of austerity: a comparative study of anti-austerity protests in Spain and Ireland’, working with Prof. Seán Ó Riain, who
is also working on a five year research project comparing change in European capitalisms and workplaces.
The two-year project will research Irish and Spanish social movements to explain their emergence, development and dynamics and the differences between their responses to austerity in the two countries. The question of why the Irish response has not been comparable to the levels of protest and resistance seen in Spain, Greece or Iceland has been widely discussed on an anecdotal basis; this project represents the first systematic attempt to answer it as a piece of public sociology.
Dr Flesher Fominaya is founding co-chair of the Council for European Studies’ social movements research network, founding co-editor of the social movements journal Interface and gave the keynote address at the 2011 Maynooth conference on social movements. She has published widely on social movements, gender, culture and political violence and has two books forthcoming: Social movements and globalization: challenges, possibilities and dynamics (Palgrave MacMillan) and Understanding European movements: new social movements, global justice struggles, anti-austerity protests (Routledge, co-edited with Laurence Cox). She brings a particular expertise in comparative European research and the study of autonomous (non-institutional) social movements to this project.
The Dept of Sociology at NUI Maynooth is Ireland's leading centre of excellence in social movement studies. It has several members of staff and a number of PhD students working in the area; a research cluster in Critical Political Thought, Activism and Alternative Futures; a dedicated MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism (co-hosted with Adult and Community Education); and undergraduate modules in the field. The department is the base for the journal Interface, now in its ninth issue; hosted Ireland's first social movements research conference since 1998 as well as a long-running series of research seminars and workshops in the area; and has been awarded an Irish Research Council collaborative grant (€100,000) as well as the Marie Curie scholarship for social movement research projects. 
During the project Cristina will work closely with other researchers and students, including participants on the CEESA course, as well as engaging more widely with movement practitioners. We look forward to it!