Study title
UNEMPOL - The Contentious Politics of Unemployment in Europe
Ref study 7539
Study language English
Contributing institutions
  • Employment
  • Exclusion
  • Unemployment
  • Mobilisation
  • Contestation
1995-2002 (1990-2002 for the extended Swiss data file)
Geographical space
Western Europe
  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
This project aims to advance knowledge in labour politics by focusing on the 'contentious politics of unemployment', i.e. the relationship between political-institutional approaches to employment policy and political conflicts mobilized by collective actors over unemployment in the public domain. It is designed to study this topic at national, international comparative, and transnational levels. Key objectives: (a) to generate new data for longitudinal and comparative analyses of ideological and policy positions of actors and their relationships; (b) to study the potential for political participation 'from below' by citizens campaigning for the rights of the unemployed and the conditions under which existing organizational networks and policy dialogues transform in a more open civil policy deliberation; (c) to provide knowledge based on rigorous cross-national and EU-level transnational analyses allowing grounded empirical statements about the Europeanisation of the field.

As the contested and negotiated character of the employment policy field expresses itself both in the public domain and in the institutional arenas for interest mediation, we look both at political claim-making in the public space and policy deliberation within the polity. The overall design of the research has three main components: (a) mapping the field of political contention, i.e. structures of ideological cleavages and actor relationships, both longitudinally and cross-nationally; (b) examining the nature of the multi-organizational field extending from the core policy domain to the public domain, i.e. networks and channels of political influence between core policy actors and intermediary organizations, on one side, and civil society organizations and social movements representing the unemployed (including the unemployed themselves), on the other; (c) studying the nature of the interaction between EU-level and national policy-making by determining the channels of political influence that exist between European institutions and national policy domains in the field (the multi-level governance of employment policy), and examining to what extent there are new political opportunities for the bottom-up empowerment of citizens' organizations as a consequence of the emergence of the EU as an actor in the field. The body of data generated allows for longitudinal (1990-2002) and comparative (F, D, I, S, CH, UK) analyses of ideological and policy positions of actors and their relationships in the unemployment issue-field. It is backed up by interviews conducted with key actors in the organizational field (policy actors, employers associations, trade unions, parties, NGOs and social movements) both at the national and transnational levels. Innovative attempts are made to establish networks and links between the involved actors as part of our dissemination strategy, which is key to the overall success of the project.
Methods (description)
Methods (instruments)
  • Analysis of content - standardized
  • Standardised interviews
Replicated study No
  • Giugni, Marco; Berclaz, Michel; Füglister, Katharina. 2014. La politique contestataire du chômage en Suisse: Etat-providence, opportunités et revendications politiques. Zurich: Seismo.
  • Giugni, Marco. 2010. The Contentious Politics of Unemployment in Europe: Welfare States and Political Opportunities. Houndmills: Palgrave.
Unpublished documents
  • Giugni, Marco; Statham, Paul. 2005. The Contentious Politics of Unemployment in Europe: Political Claim-making, Policy Deliberation and Exclusion from the Labor Market. Final report for the European Commission (Fifth Framework Programme).
  • Giugni, Marco; Statham, Paul. 2002. The Contentious Politics of Unemployment in Europe - Political Claim-making, Policy Deliberation and Exclusion from the Labor Market - A research outline. European Political Communications, working paper series, 2002.
Financed by
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates) Web
Date created 26.02.2021
Date modified 02.06.2021
Start - End date 01.01.2002 - 30.04.2005