Overcoming the Divide between Redistributive and Cultural Protest? – the Protests Against Ttip in Germany 2015

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Priska DAPHI, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt / Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
In how far does the distinction between ‘old’ redistributive and ‘new’ cultural protests still make sense? Latest research on anti-austerity protests found that a ‘mixed’ category in protest mobilization has gained prominence where social movements jointly mobilize with trade unions. This article examines the role trade unions actually play in such joint collective actions. Classically associated with more redistributive protests, existing research about trade unions suggests that their involvement changes the character of protests – towards more membership based mobilization and redistributive claims. Analyzing the case of the anti-TTIP mobilizations in Germany in Berlin 2015, we show that this is not necessarily the case. Based on protest survey data, we show that while many participants of the protest were members of trade unions, they were largely mobilized by other groups, in particular social movement networks such as Campact or Attac. Furthermore, we show that trade unions members do not differ significantly from other protest participants with regards to trust in political and economic institutions and the perception of political influence. However, we do find significant differences in central concerns with trade union members giving more priority to issues such as welfare state protection and fair redistribution in society. Overall, this indicates a much greater ‘mix’ of redistributive and cultural protest than previously measured and expected. (co-author: Sabrina Zajak)