From Maastricht to Brexit by Richard Bellamy and Dario Castiglione

Southern Europe: A Post-Crisis Zone?

Political Participation
Political Parties
Electoral Behaviour
Party Systems
Southern Europe
Section Number
Section Chair
Susannah Verney
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Section Co-Chair
Kerstin Hamann
University of Central Florida

Reinforced by the completion of the EU/IMF bailout programme in Greece and the celebrated rehabilitation of the Spanish and Portuguese economies, a narrative has been gaining ground that Southern Europe is finally emerging from crisis. But the period of crisis which Southern Europe has experienced over the last decade has not been limited to the economic turmoil in the southern eurozone. The crisis of delegitimation triggered by the economic downturn continues to impact on South European political systems. The region has been in the forefront of the refugee and migrant crisis which has had deep repercussions on politics, policies and societies. Meanwhile, Turkey since 2016 has experienced both an attempted coup and a regime change.

This Section will offer a multi-faceted investigation of how far the region as a whole has moved beyond the crisis paradigm, and in which sectors this applies. In addition, it aims to reveal the extent of differentiation within the region and to highlight the varying national trajectories of South European states and societies. To this end, the Section invites proposals for papers and panels presenting both comparative research and single-country case studies. Geographically, the Section will cover Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Cyprus and Malta. Intra-South European studies comparing countries in this group will be particularly welcome. Comparative frameworks and intra-regional studies will allow an assessment of whether the continued impact of the crisis is leading to convergence or divergence in Southern European societies.

The Section hopes to include contributions employing a range of disciplinary perspectives and methodological approaches. Preference will be given to papers presenting innovative and theoretically grounded empirical work. A non-exclusive list of possible areas for investigation might include:

Post-crisis Economies?
Just how strong are the region’s economies? To what extent are they proving successful in building growth and what kind of policies are governments adopting to promote this aim? Has structural change been real and effective? Is Southern Europe promoting innovation and technological change including the use of information technologies? How well is Southern Europe able to compete in global markets?

Post-crisis Migration Patterns and Impacts?
How have the new external migration and ‘brain drain’ been impacting on South European societies and economies? What kind of societal and political responses has the refugee and migrant crisis evoked, including refugee support initiatives and anti-immigration mobilisation? How do governments and societies balance the different pressures produced by the distinctive experiences of in-migration and out-migration? How have the policies of the Turkish government affected migration patterns in the country?

Post-crisis Attitudes?
Does political discontent in the region remain as strong as in recent years or is it declining? How significant is generational change, including the emergence of a youth politicised by crisis? How have attitudes been changing, particularly on key questions like democracy, institutional change and European integration? To what extent are social media and ‘fake news’ shaping opinion and playing a powerful role in the political process?

Post-crisis Participation?
How are opportunities for political participation changing? Is there a reshaping of patterns of political mobilization and protest? Have new groups or ones that were previously less visible become more politically active? And what about the role of established political actors such as trade unions? How have technology and new forms of communication affected the way citizens participate in politics? Has the crisis and its aftermath increased or dampened widespread political participation?

Populism and Polarization
How significant is populism in the region? Are populist discourses evolving as political and economic conditions change? Are there significant differences between the populisms of government and opposition? And how pronounced is political polarization? What are the axes of polarization in specific national contexts? And what have been its consequences? Are populism and polarization likely to become sustainable features of South European political system?

Post-crisis Elections?
Are elections in the region continuing to be characterised by crisis characteristics such as electoral volatility, high abstention rates and breakthroughs for challenger parties? How widespread is protest voting and have there been other changes in voting behaviour? What picture emerges from recent elections e.g. in Italy and Turkey in 2018? And to what extent will the 2019 Euroelections serve as a test for Southern Europe’s emergence from crisis?

Post-crisis Party Systems?
How are party systems evolving in the post-crisis environment? Do the crisis era changes seem likely to become permanent features or are they less likely to become institutionalized in South European party systems? How have traditional parties responded to the challenge of new parties, both organizationally and programmatically? What has been the recent role of the radical left and the radical right in the region? And what are their likely future prospects?

Post-crisis Governments?
Have there been changes in processes of government formation and patterns of governmental stability? Have unusual governments brought unusual outcomes e.g. in terms of policy innovation or governing practice? How has the recent regime change impacted on government in Turkey? And what has been the experience of conflict and cooperation in South European governments’ relations with the EU?

Post-crisis Policy Agendas?
To what extent have South European eurozone states moved on from the austerity agenda of the crisis period? Are we seeing a new rebalancing of policy priorities between external commitments and domestic demands? Similarly, have governments’ priorities for privileging some social groups over others changed? Have there been changes in processes of policymaking and implementation? How has the protracted political crisis in Turkey impacted on domestic policy agendas?

The Section is proposed on behalf of the ECPR Standing Group in Southern European Politics and welcomes proposals for panels and papers from members and non-members of the Group.

Panel List

P002‘Post-Crisis’ Southern Europe: Representation, Protest, Mobilisation View Panel Details
P098Elections in Southern Europe – Still Democratic? Turkey in Comparative Perspective View Panel Details
P254Policy Challenges in ‘Post-Crisis’ Greece View Panel Details
P260Political Attitudes in ‘Post-Crisis’ Southern Europe View Panel Details
P289Politics in Polarised Southern Europe View Panel Details
P361Systemic Change in ‘Post-Crisis’ Southern Europe View Panel Details
P460What Actually Happened? Analysing the 2019 Euroelections in Southern Europe View Panel Details
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