Fațetele multiple ale nemulțumirii populare: o schiță sociologică a protestelor in Piața Universității din ianuarie 2012 The Multiple Facets of Popular Discontent: A Sociological Outline of the January 2012 Protests from Bucharest's University Square Section Studies

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Cătălin Augustin Stoica

Abstract

This article addresses the January 2012 protests from Bucharest, Romania. Due to protesters’ high social diversity, their numerous themes of discontent, and rejection of all current politicians, these protests have been compared to Spain’s „Indignados” movement. I analyze these protests from the standpoint of the theories of collective behavior, outlining their features, duration, and degree of organization. I contend that, although these demonstrations might have contained the seeds of future social and political movements, the January 2012 events could be understood properly as a form of collective behavior. I offer a structural explanation for the emergence of these protests and I discuss the heterogeneity of protesters and their themes using the tools of typological procedures (social types). These social types are constructed by taking into account individuals’ experience of participation in other public protests. I also address the similarities and differences between these protests and other demonstrations, such as those from 1990 in Romania or the recent protests from Spain. As compared to the Spanish protests, the Romanian demonstrations have involved significantly fewer individuals – a fact that is linked to local polity forms, social atomization, generalized distrust, and low civic participation. Despite all this, the Romanian protests have generated a series of political changes, which culminated in the resignation of the Prime Minister Emil Boc and his cabinet. While the opposition parties are likely to capitalize on Romanians’ discontent with the former main ruling party, populist, extremist, and anti-system political forces might also gain public support by exploiting citizens’ widespread distrust of current politicians and Parliament.

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Author Biography

Cătălin Augustin Stoica, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest

Address: 9 Schitu Măgureanu Street, District 1, 010181, Bucharest, Romania.

E-mail:  astoica@curs.ro

How to Cite
Stoica, C. A. (2012). Fațetele multiple ale nemulțumirii populare: o schiță sociologică a protestelor in Piața Universității din ianuarie 2012: The Multiple Facets of Popular Discontent: A Sociological Outline of the January 2012 Protests from Bucharest’s University Square. Sociologie Românească, 10(1), 3-35. Retrieved from http://revistasociologieromaneasca.ro/sr/article/view/2012_1_stoica