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    The Irish water charges movement: theorising “the social movement in general”


    Cox, Laurence (2017) The Irish water charges movement: theorising “the social movement in general”. Interface : a Journal for and about Social Movements, 9 (1). pp. 161-203. ISSN 2009-2431

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    Abstract

    This paper uses participant narratives and Marxist social movement theory to analyse resistance to water charges as the driving force of Irish anti-austerity struggles – or “the social movement in general”. It locates this movement within the history of working-class community-based self-organisation in Ireland. Contemporary resistance to metering and refusal to pay are not “spontaneous”, but articulate long-standing local rationalities. The current situation has seen the crisis of other forms of working-class articulation: union dependence on a Labour Party which enthusiastically embraced austerity in government; the co-optation of community service provision within “social partnership”, under attack from the state since the mid-2000s; and the collapse of far left initiatives for shared parliamentary representation and resistance to household charges. New forms of popular agency are thus developing; community-based direct action has enabled a historic alliance between multiple forms of working-class voice and unleashed a vast process of popular mobilisation and self-education. Finally, the paper relates the Irish movement to the wider loss of consent for austerity on the European periphery, and asks after the political prospects for effective alliances “within the belly of the beast”.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Social movements; Marxism; Ireland; water; class; community activism; austerity; neoliberalism; resistance;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 14224
    Depositing User: Dr. Laurence Cox
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2021 14:32
    Journal or Publication Title: Interface : a Journal for and about Social Movements
    Publisher: National University of Ireland Maynooth
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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