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When Does Repression Trigger Mass Protest? The 2013 Gezi Protests

Non-State Violent Actors and Social Movement Organizations

ISBN: 978-1-78714-191-9, eISBN: 978-1-78714-190-2

Publication date: 18 April 2017


This chapter offers a mechanism-based explanation of how single-cause oriented protest events are transformed into a mass movement where previously fragmented causes of contention come to be expressed in conjoint action. Drawing on the case of 2013 Gezi protests in Turkey, we map the protest waves and identify two mechanisms that mediate the influence of repression on mobilization of dissent. The first mechanism is the perceived nature of the cause of contention. Repression leads to scale shift (McAdam et al., 2008) in the first wave when exercised over those who protest for an issue perceived to be innocent. The second mechanism is the experience of repression. Boundary deactivation among protesters and the resulting continuity in protest activity follow scale shift in the second and third waves as experience of repression transforms perceptions of those that were previously framed as others. Our analysis relies on data collected via participant observation, in-depth interviews, and an online survey with 1,352 protesters.




We are thankful to Mabel Berezin, Matthew Evangelista, Jan Kubik, Julia Lynch, Sidney Tarrow, and Yuhua Wang for their constructive suggestions on various stages of preparing this chapter. We also wish to acknowledge the contributions of Can Dalyan with his share in our collective effort of collecting survey data, and of Ceyhun Eksin and Serhat Akhanli with their comments on earlier versions of the chapter. Earlier versions of the chapter were presented at American Sociological Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting and SUCCESS 2014 Workshop at Sabancı University, Istanbul, and the chapter has received the Sidney Tarrow Paper Award for the Best Paper written in the field of European Politics in 2015 awarded by Cornell University, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. We thank the organizers and participants for their comments. Julie M. Mazzei and the reviewers are also due thanks for their valuable suggestions on the manuscript.


Över, D. and Taraktaş, B. (2017), "When Does Repression Trigger Mass Protest? The 2013 Gezi Protests", Non-State Violent Actors and Social Movement Organizations (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 41), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 205-239.



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