The Welfare State we're in: Organisations of the unemployed in action in Paris and Berlin
Title: The Welfare State we're in: Organisations of the unemployed in action in Paris and Berlin
Author: ZORN, Annika
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2010
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
The following thesis looks at the contentious action of the unemployed in Paris and Berlin. The thesis investigates the role of local organisations of the unemployed in contentious activities. More specifically, it looks at the forms of collective action these local organisations are engaged in, and asks about which conditions lead to the disruptive activities considered crucial for poor people’s actors. This is done by analysing different empirical sources: semi-structured interviews, participant observation, surveys, and expert interviews. In order to describe the forms of contentious engagement seen and the role of local organisations, the second part employs an analytical descriptive approach. In an attempt to explain the tactical choices of organisations of the unemployed I link four different conditions (access to resources, access to the field of institutionalised actors, belonging to a counter-cultural network and movement experience) to the use of disruptive activities. Combining all four conditions I then carry out a Comparative Qualitative Analysis (QCA). One important insight of the thesis is that contentious action by the poor can be stabilised over time. Further, the thesis also shows that the two fields of local organisations are characterised by different features. Some features, for example the existence of certain types of organisations - as defined by their preferred activities - can be explained by the political system and, more particularly, by the institutions of contention present in each country. However, there are also many similarities between the fields, showing that national opportunity structures explain only some aspects of contentious action. In looking at the conditions leading to the use of disruptive action, the thesis shows that political opportunities are just one of several other factors that explain types of contentious engagement. The thesis disconfirms the assumption of the central role of exclusion from centres of political and discursive power and the lack of resources in accounting for disruptive action. It is more important that organisations of the unemployed belong to a counter-cultural network, defined as a necessary, albeit not a sufficient condition for disruptive action.
LC Subject Heading: Pressure groups -- European Union countries; Political participation -- European Union countries; Lobbying -- European Union countries
Defence date: 5 February 2010; Examining Board: Donatella Della Porta (EUI) (Supervisor), Colin Crouch (University of Warwick, Business School), Klaus Eder (Humboldt-Universität Berlin), Marco Giugni (Université de Genève); First made available online on 26 March 2013.
Type of Access: openAccess