The individual and collective potential of multi-issue youth activism
ESA RN 30 Midterm Conference: Being Young in Context
The deep economic and social crisis that affected Portugal coincided with a cycle of social protest (2011-2013) and significant activity of the social movements. One of the most prominent actors of this movement was Inflexible Precarious (PI), a group mainly composed by young people, whose chief concern was the fight against the growing employment precarity affecting the young and the general workforce. Although its main political concern is focused on labor relations, PI is also influenced by the alter-globalization mobilization, incorporating a considerable number of relating claims and repertoires of action. One of PI’s most interesting and salient features is the plurality of engagements of its members with other classical and/or ‘new, new’ social movements (Feixa et al 2009). These include classical political parties and trade unions; anti-racist, feminist and ecological movements; animal’s rights and LGBTQ movements. This intense mobilization clearly challenges the usual notion of young people’s cynicism and detachment from political and civic mobilization and action. PI’s members are however diverse concerning multiple and cross-domain political engagements, from single issue activism (precariousness) to multiple and intersected belongings across groups and domains. The diverse degrees of engagement with other social movements, its individual and collective motivations, processes and outcomes will be the specific focus of analysis of this research, including the different processes of subjectivation and self-construction of their members as individuals and political actors and the collective implications of these processes. The potential of interconnectedness and spill-over effects between movements brought by multi-issue activists will also be in focus. This proposal is based on a set of interviews and ethnographic research undertaken with Precarious Inflexible, part of the qualitative work done between 2012 and 2013 for the international project MYPLACE, financed by the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission.