Treatment for Democracy? the Case of Social Clinics in Greece

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Haris MALAMIDIS, Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy
Together with the severe measures imposed due to the economic crisis, anti-austerity movements arose in many South European countries, and especially in Greece. As the crisis was deepening, wages and pensions were falling sharply, collective labor agreements were removed, the privatization of public services was figuring as the only alternative and the official unemployment rates have been reaching more than 25%. Going a step beyond from their traditional repertoire of actions, social movements in Greece took an active role by trying to substitute specific services which until recently were provided from the welfare state. Social cooperatives, collective kitchens and markets without middlemen are just few examples of solidarity structures that can be seen as products of the broader anti-austerity campaign. One of the most salient cases is the one of social clinics. Started from a solidarians’ and doctors’ initiative in 2011, social clinics have spread all over Greece providing health care services to uninsured citizens and migrants under the framework of direct democracy and social solidarity. As part of my PhD thesis, this paper aims to analyze how the development of social clinics is connected with the transformation of Greek movements’ repertoire of action and organizational structure towards a more hands-on approach during the times of crisis. In particular, through fieldwork research in the coming spring in Athens and Thessaloniki, and especially by applying qualitative, semi-structured interviews and document analysis in a number of social clinics, this paper will try to explore the organization of social clinics and the way they operate, focusing on their nodal role in the network of social solidarity and anti-austerity campaign.