POLCON – Political Conflict in Europe in the Shadow
of the Great Recession
The ERC research program POLCON assesses the contemporary development of European democracies and the politicization of the European integration process in the shadow of the Great Recession which started with the breakdown of Lehman Brothers in Autumn 2008 and is still ongoing. To grasp the political consequences of the economic crisis, the project proposes a combination of a comparative-static analysis of thirty European countries and a dynamic analysis of political conflict in a selected number of cases. It intends to link the study of elections to the study of political protest, covering Western, Southern, as well as Central and Eastern European countries.
This project proposes to study the structuration of political conflict in Europe, based on the analysis of political contestation in the electoral arena, the protest arena, and in issue specific public interactions. Since few studies worked on the interactions between elections and political protest, we focus on the interactions between these two political arenas and the actors respectively involved in each. The key question is whether the Great Recession and its consequences are changing the long-term trends in the development of political conflict in Europe as they have been previously assessed. In order to answer this overarching research question, the project will be based on survey data and on an original content analysis of protest events, election campaigns, and issue-specific public contestation across territorial levels and political arenas.