European social movements have been central to European history, politics, society and culture, and have had a global reach and impact. Yet they have rarely been taken on their own terms in the English-language literature, considered rather as counterpoints to the US experience. This has been exacerbated by the failure of Anglophone social movement theorists to pay attention to the substantial literatures in languages such as French, German, Spanish or Italian – and by the increasing global dominance of English in the production of news and other forms of media.

This book sets out to take the European social movement experience seriously on its own terms, including:

  • the European tradition of social movement theorising – particularly in its attempt to understand movement development from the 1960s onwards
  • the extent to which European movements between 1968 and 1999 became precursors for the contemporary anti-globalisation movement
  • the construction of the anti-capitalist "movement of movements" within the European setting
  • the new anti-austerity protests in Iceland, Greece, Spain (15-M/Indignados), and elsewhere.

This book offers a comprehensive, interdisciplinary perspective on the key European social movements in the past forty years. It will be of interest for students and scholars of politics and international relations, sociology, history, European studies and social theory.

chapter |4 pages


Rethinking European movements and theory

part |25 pages

European theory/European movements

part |16 pages

European precursors to the Global Justice Movement

chapter |14 pages

The Italian anomaly

Place and History in the Global Justice Movement

chapter |15 pages

The continuity of transnational protest

The anti-nuclear movement as a precursor to the Global Justice Movement

chapter |18 pages

Where global meets local

Italian social centres and the alterglobalization movement

chapter |15 pages

Constructing a new collective identity for the alterglobalization movement

The French Confédération Paysanne (CP) as anti-capitalist ‘peasant' movement

chapter |16 pages

Movement culture continuity

The British anti-roads movement as precursor to the Global Justice Movement

part |18 pages

Culture and identity in the construction of the European “movement of movements”

chapter |16 pages

Europe as contagious space

Cross-border diffusion through EuroMayday and climate justice movements

chapter |14 pages

Collective identity across borders

Bridging local and transnational memories in the Italian and German Global Justice Movements

chapter |15 pages

At home in the movement

Constructing an oppositional identity through activist travel across European squats

part |16 pages

Understanding the new “European Spring”

chapter |17 pages

Collective learning processes within social movements

Some insights into the Spanish 15-M/Indignados movement 1

chapter |16 pages

Think globally, act locally?

Symbolic memory and global repertoires in the Tunisian uprising and the Greek anti-austerity mobilizations

chapter |18 pages

Fighting for a voice

The Spanish 15-M/Indignados movement

chapter |5 pages


Anti-austerity protests in European and global context – future agendas for research