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The Centre will engage in a number of joint and individual projects.

These include, among others:

Principal Investigator: Dr Eirini Karamouzi (Department of History) Co-Investigators: Dr Maria Grasso (Department of Politics) and Prof Benjamin Ziemann (Department of History)

Protest as democratic practice: peace movements in southern Europe, 1975-1990

The mobilisation against the deployment of US Pershing and Cruise Missile atomic warheads in the wake of the NATO Dual Track Solution in 1979 was a watershed moment in the recent political history of Western Europe. The anti-nuclear protests of the 1980s activated civil society, renegotiated the parameters of political participation and redefined the understanding of (international and domestic) security. The contours and implications of the 1980s anti-nuclear protests are well researched for key western European countries. Developments on the southern European periphery, however, have not yet been substantially studied. The key objective of the project is to analyse anti-nuclear and anti-militarist peace protests in selected southern European countries during the late 1970s and 1980s. The focus will be on Greece, Spain and Italy, three countries that were involved in the 1980s mobilisation cycle in different ways. Italy had been selected for the deployment of Pershing missiles and was thus a key battleground of conflicts over the Dual Track Decision. But the country had also seen a wave of left and right-wing terrorism during the 1970s and a concomitant crisis of parliamentary democracy. Spain and Greece had just returned to parliamentary democracy from military dictatorship in 1975 and 1974, respectively. They were not directly involved in the conflict over the Dual Track Decision, but experienced intensive protests against the presence of US military bases or against NATO membership more generally. Thus, all three countries were involved in conflicts over security that entailed a complex renegotiation of democratic practices in the widest sense. The project will investigate these developments through the lens of peace movement mobilisation.

Considering both national peculiarities and the shared framework of a difficult transition to a renewed democratic practice, the project will consider the following research questions: How did the protest movements of the 1980s differ from previous (Italian and Greek) peace protests of the 1960s? What mobilised the peace activists of the 1980s, and which shared perceptions and collective symbols – such as anti-Americanism, a sense of national victimhood or socialist anti-militarism - framed their protests? How did the state and key parties respond to the protests? And, ultimately: to what extent were these peace protests a crucial element of the transition to and transformation of democratic practices in southern European countries?

The project is generously funded by an award in the context of the Max Batley Peace Studies Post Doctoral Fellowships. Starting in the autumn of 2016, a fully funded postdoctoral fellow will collaborate with the project leaders in conducting empirical research with regard to Italy and Spain, preparing an international conference on the topic, and writing-up the findings of the project in articles for peer-reviewed journals. The fellow will receive substantial interdisciplinary research training by the three project leaders/investigators.

For further information, please contact Dr Eirini Karamouzi at

Dr Eirini Karamouzi (Principal Investigator)

Press, public opinion and policy: The Greek and Italian peace movements during the 1980s Euromissiles crisis

The project will analyse peace movements during the Cold War Euromissile crisis from NATO’s December 1979 dual-track decision to the signing of the INF Treaty in Washington in December 1987. In contrast to the majority of studies that have focused on American and Western European anti-nuclear activism, the proposed project will investigate the mass movements in the neglected Southern flank of NATO, and in particular Greece and Italy. By focusing on the leading forces in anti-nuclear movements, the study will explore the societal debate on the meaning of security in a nuclear age and how such concepts got entangled with national identity and politics. The analysis of speeches of politicians and other members of the elites, interviews of activists, usage of public opinion survey data as well as textual analysis of the press coverage of the mass movements will provide new insights on how these Cold War mass movements waged their dissent within both their national domestic context and the wider international arena.

Professor Benjamin Ziemann (Principal Investigator)

Martin Niemöller and the peace culture of the Federal Republic

In the wider context of a biographical project on Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), the figurehead of the Confessing Church who spend the years from 1938 to 1945 in Sachsenhausen and Dachau Concentration Camps, this project will investigate the pacifist initiatives and ecumenical peace work of pastor Niemöller in the post-war period. From the early 1950s to the 1980s, Niemöller was a leading figure in different anti-nuclear mobilisation cycles and gained a national and international profile as a committed pacifist. The project will investigate to what extent and how Niemöller’s pacifism contributed to the wider transformation of German political culture in the post-war decades, from an emphasis on the military and militarism to a ‘peace culture’ that championed non-violence and rejected military intervention.