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Riots, demonstrations, strikes and the Coalition programme

Taylor-Gooby, Peter (2013) Riots, demonstrations, strikes and the Coalition programme. Social Policy and Society, 12 (1). pp. 1-15. ISSN 1474-7464. (doi:10.1017/S1474746412000401) (KAR id:48589)


The current UK government’s policies include headlong spending cuts and a far-reaching restructuring of public provision. State welfare arguably contributes to political legitimacy and social stability, as well as to better social conditions and economic prosperity. The fact that current policies bear disproportionately on lower income groups may damage legitimacy.

This article analyses a dataset covering 26 countries for more than two decades to show that spending cuts, privatisation and increases in poverty undermine legitimacy. It uses a direct measure of legitimacy in terms of the frequency of riots and political demonstrations and strikes rather than the usual indirect measures in terms of attitudes and trust in government. Findings in relation to the increased work-centredness of the benefit and labour market reforms are more equivocal: a stricter benefit regime may not undermine legitimacy.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S1474746412000401
Uncontrolled keywords: Riots; austerity; disorder; cuts; Europe; welfare state
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Peter Taylor-Gooby
Date Deposited: 20 May 2015 16:15 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:19 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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