Austerity and Anti-Systemic Protest: Bringing Hardships Back In

  • Jon Shefner University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • Aaron Rowland University of Tennessee – Martin
  • George Pasdirtz University of Wisconsin--Madison (retired)


This article explores the relationship between hardships and protest in the world-system. Despite the history of discussion of anti-systemic protest, there has been little work that differentiates world-systems contributions to social movement research from others who examine social movements. We contribute to a theory of anti-systemic protest by re-introducing hardships as a crucial element that defines inequalities in the world-system; one consistent source of those hardships are austerity policies imposed in response to debt negotiations. In addition to our path analyses which demonstrate the clear link of hardships and protest, our case studies provide further historical analysis on when globalization, political openings, and long-term hardships also help explain the occasion of protest.


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How to Cite
Shefner, J., Rowland, A., & Pasdirtz, G. (2015). Austerity and Anti-Systemic Protest: Bringing Hardships Back In. Journal of World-Systems Research, 21(2), 460-494.