Through a comparative analysis of localized social movements in four countries during spring 2011 (Spain, Portugal, France, Tunisia) this paper argues that deliberative democracy practices are not only a way of organizing debates among social movements, but are also one of the main elements of the repertoire of action. Occupied spaces, unlike more traditional factory occupations, often squares in the public space, are appropriated as deliberative spaces, for the organization of the social movement, but also as an experimental micro-society. To understand this situation, we have to focus on the characteristics of mobilized actors. Most of them are young, unemployed, living with social benefits or precarious workers. Within this new generation of activists, most are not organized in (traditional organizations) of the workers movements, and label their movements as “new” to avoid the stigma of the “old” labor movement and gather in contention broader segments of the society. We will try to show that these specific shapes of mobilization in the Mediterranean region since 2011 are the expression of the emergence of the precarious fraction of the society as a political subject that led the first phase of the social movement.
Data has been gathered in France (Bordeaux & Paris, June 2011), Spain (Madrid, June 2011), Portugal (Lisbon, March 2011) and Tunisia (regions of Tunis, Sousse, Gafsa, and other small cities, April-May 2011). We will use especially video recordings and photos of several types of collective actions (meetings, general assembly, gatherings, demonstrations…), interviews and ethnographic participations and observations, miscellaneous materials (leaflets, street art); and quantitative analysis of the content of some Facebook groups on a limited-time period (Movimento Doze de Março, Democracia real YA, Démocratie Réelle France, La révolution tunisienne).