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Corruption and Conflagration: (In)Justice and Protest in Bucharest after the Colectiv Fire

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Publication details

DateSubmitted - 9 Mar 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 31 Aug 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 3 Oct 2019
DatePublished (current) - 15 Mar 2020
Issue number3
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)368-388
Early online date3/10/19
Original languageEnglish


The fire in the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania in October 2015 led to sustained, nationwide protests that forced the resignation of the government. These protests drew on deep-seated feelings of injustice due to rampant corruption among the political elite. The capital city location provided an opening for spontaneous actions to present claims to power holders. We aim to identify how the urban space was used to initiate and scale up a meaningful challenge to the governing system by examining the evolution of these protests. Through analysis of interviews with protest participants and nonparticipants resident in Bucharest, we identify factors that mobilized participants and how these built and reinforced the developing movement. The findings emphasize the importance of (capital) cities in incubating social movements, by providing spaces to organize challenges to institutional actors from the local to the national level.

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© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded with permission of the publisher/copyright holder. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • Protest, Romania, Urban Movements, Corruption

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