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The mobilising memory of the 15-M movement: recollections and sediments in Spanish protest culture

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2022-04-13
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Taylor & Francis
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The 15-M movement, which emerged in 2011 amidst the Great Recession in Spain, has achieved the status of transformative protest event. Social movement research using this concept has mostly focused on meso-level legacies: event memories shape later organisational dynamics within social movements and among activists. Collective memories can, however, transcend the activists’ milieu, acting as a sediment in the political culture of broader social sectors. Along this line of inquiry, this article examines the memory of the 15-M movement among ordinary demonstrators in two recent mobilisations (International Women’s Day and the pensioners’ protests). Based on forty-four in-depth interviews, we show not only a widespread recollection of 15-M eight years later, but also that memories include mobilising components, influencing the perceptions of protest as an efficacious political tool, or extending protest repertoires that are now considered familiar and legitimate. Recollections of 15-M are also associated with changes in the critical understanding of the political system and the advancement of a new political subject, which envisages an active role in politics for ordinary citizens. Significantly, these mobilising memories are discernible even among those who did not participate at the time, showing that cultural legacies may have transcended the first-instance protagonists. In short, protest action, subjects, critical mentalities and repertoires gained an enduring legitimacy, which is consistent with the extension of alternative horizontal logics of politics and more active understandings of citizenship.
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Identificador de proyecto: This work was supported by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades [CSO2017-84861-P].
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Social Movement Studies, 22:3, 402-420
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