GT 4.9 Citizens and sovereignty contention in Southern Europe

Javier Lorente Fontaneda (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos)
Irene Martín Cortés (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
Gema M. García Albacete (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Southern Europe has experienced a decade of major economic, political and societal transformations. Two main crisis at the European level have affected Southern Europe significantly:  the Great Recession (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain) and the migration crisis (Greece and Italy). Those crises occurred along with changes that can be considered domestic since they have their own causes beyond global transformation, such as the collapse of party systems or the demand of independence in Catalonia.  All these changes have affected how citizens relate to politics, both in terms of their behavior and their attitudes. Regarding electoral politics, for instance, citizens have shown a more volatile behavior; regarding other kinds of political participation, the level of protests has also increased. Attitudes and orientations towards politics have changed as well. High levels of dissatisfaction or low rates of trust in democratic institutions share scenario with growing percentages of political interest and new political preferences.

The main aim of the panel is to discuss changes and continuities in South European citizens’ relationship to politics both regarding their political behavior and orientations towards the political system. Papers included in the panel will focus on the new and the old in politics ten years after the beginning of the Great Recession in Southern Europe. Studies using rigorous and systematic empirical evaluations are preferred and both case studies and comparative papers are welcome. 

Key words: Southern Europe, public opinion, party systems, political behaviour, empirical research.