New Media and collective action in contemporary Spain (the March 2004 events): new methodological approaches and some conceptual issues.
sociologia IV universidad complutense de madrid pozuelo de alarcon, madrid, spain
political science european university institute florence, italy
This paper looks at the structural, dynamic and temporal context that characterizes the Spanish political (and media) opportunity structure for collective action. This context operated as a set of facilitating conditions for a cycle of mobilization between 2003 and 2004 which concluded in the events that took place between 11 and 14 March 2004. Through an analysis of different data, including mobilisation turnout and type of mobilisation, use of new technologies and the role of mainstream and alternative media, the text aims at studying the extent to which the emergence of recent waves of social mobilisation are linked to and shaped by the new communication technologies. Specifically, the focus is on the spontaneous demonstrations of 2004 against the Spanish government (13 March) which took place after the bombing attacks in Madrid on 11 March, and just the day before the general elections (14 March). This analysis permits us to reflect on the way collective action takes place in contemporary society and to extend the concept of political opportunity structure. Also, the use of new methodological approaches have enhanced and achieved the results of the research.