© 2018, © The Author(s) 2018. Taking into consideration the debate on the role of social movements and of trade unions in organising social protests, in the light of contentious and conventional politics, this article examines participation in demonstrations in Europe and the political attitudes of the participants. The article uses data from the European Social Survey to examine the differences and similarities between European countries in respect of mobilisation levels over the past decade, arguing that distrust and dissatisfaction with political institutions might be a necessary condition but not a sufficient one to justify resorting to contentious politics. The article reveals the contrasts between the levels of mobilisation in southern European countries (Portugal and Spain) and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries (Hungary and Poland) and examines the patterns and (re)configuration of the profile of the protestors in the 2002–2014 period.
- Social movements
- political discontent and protest demonstrations
- trade unionism