chapter  14
Radical Minorities, a Decade of Contention and the Greek December 2008
Pages 10

The enormous scale and explosive nature of the Greek December gave credence to interpretations of the events as totally exceptional and unrelated to previous mobilizations. Common explanations in the local media (regardless of political colouring) often resorted to blunt reductionism: the ‘riots’ were reactions to youthful frustration about the future, rising unemployment, the effects of neoliberalism, or the unfolding economic crisis. But such interpretations are both easy and unsatisfactory. They are easy because immediate economic and political context can be applied to any social explosion; and they are unsatisfactory because facile ex post theories are not helpful as scientific explanations. Most glaringly, such answers do not stand the test of cross-country comparison: Greece was not the only country, nor the hardest hit by neoliberal economic policies. Why Greece and not Bulgaria, Latvia, Portugal, or Ireland?