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Collective memory and social movements in times of crisis: the case of Romania


Nationalities Papers- The Journal of Nationalism and EthnicityJournal abstract

Social movements are not completely spontaneous. On the contrary, they depend on past events and experiences and are rooted in specific contexts. By focusing on three case studies – the student mobilizations of 2011 and 2013, the anti-government mobilizations of 2012, and the protests against the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation project of 2013 – this article aims to investigate the role of collective memory in post-2011 movements in Romania. The legacy of the past is reflected not only in a return to the symbols and frames of the anti-Communist mobilizations of 1989 and 1990, but also in the difficulties of the protesters to delimit themselves from nationalist actors, to develop global claims, and to target austerity and neoliberalism. Therefore, even in difficult economic conditions, Romanian movements found it hard to align their efforts with those of the Indignados/Occupy movements. More generally, the case of Romania proves that activism remains rooted in the local and national context, reflecting the memories, experiences, and fears of the mobilized actors, in spite of the spread of a repertoire of action from Western and southern Europe.

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