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Donatella della Porta: Protest and Democracy in Southern Europe: Beyond (neo) Liberal Democracy?

Since 2011, protests spread in Southern Europe and beyond, while trust in representative institutions dropped at minimal levels. Not only the austerity measures adopted to address national financial crises—which had common origins but took different forms—were contested. What emerged, strong and clear, was a criticism of what was considered to be the corruption of the liberal forms of democracy, face to growing evidence of the creation of small cliques of businessmen and politicians (what in Iceland was significantly called “the octopus”), which had conquered at the same time economic and political power. If these protests contributed to declining trust in institutions, they however also carry with them the potential for saving democracy, by combining old liberal conceptions with new participatory and deliberative ones.

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