Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change: Volume 42

Cover of Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change

Table of contents

(12 chapters)


Pages i-xii
click here to view access options


Pages 1-6
click here to view access options

Section I Social Movements and Their Institutional Relations


Institutional actors are critical allies for grassroots movements, but few studies have examined their effects and variations within the non-democratic context. This chapter argues that while institutional allies are heavily constrained and unlikely to give open endorsement to grassroot activists, some institutional activists indirectly facilitate movement mobilization and favorable outcomes in the process of advancing their own political agendas. Drawing upon in-depth interviews conducted in 2008 and 2012, I illustrate this argument by examining the Anti-PX Movement – a landmark grassroots environmental movement against a chemical plant – in Xiamen, China. I find that the environmental institutional actors were constrained and divided, yet some still fostered opportunities for movement mobilization and in turn exploited the opportunity created by the protesters to pursue their policy interests, thus facilitating positive movement outcomes. As long as the claims are not politically subversive to the authoritarian rule, this type of tacit and tactical interaction between institutional activists within the state and grassroot activists on the street is conducive to promoting progressive policy changes.


In the years following the 2009 recession, local governments in the US have struggled to adequately maintain and manage infrastructure projects. As a result, community organizations are using new tactics to increase social and financial support for specific projects in the hopes of capturing local government attention and motivating infrastructure project delivery. This chapter explores how one community organization initiated a consensus movement by using civic crowdfunding to mobilize resources for a specific infrastructure project. Based on a matched pairs case study with two protected bike lane (PBL) projects in Denver, CO, USA (one that used consensus movement tactics and one that did not), this analysis focuses on the emergence of a consensus movement and its implications for project stakeholders. As a consensus movement supporting infrastructure, I argue that the project-based nature is important in defining movement success. Additionally, I argue that the relationship between the social movement organization and the state is more important than a typical consensus movement because infrastructure delivery requires a high level of state coordination and resources. The implications of using a consensus movement to support a specific infrastructure project point to shifting roles between social movement organization and the state.


Scholars agree that institutional and non-institutional (i.e., protest) politics are increasingly interrelated. One expression of this phenomenon is party protest – when leaders, activists, or sympathizers of political parties participate in protest events and identify themselves as such. Yet we know little about how often parties partake in protests, which ones do so, and under which conditions. Using data on more than 2,300 protest events in Chile between 2000 and 2012, I show that party protest takes place in only 6% of all protest events, and that it is essentially monopolized by leftist parties. Additionally, by combining several strands of the literature on political parties and collective action, I derive hypotheses about the impact of the features of protest events and the broader national context on the chances of party protest. Multivariate regression models show that party protest is more likely in events which take place in highly visible locations and are coordinated by other civil society organizations. Additionally, party protest occurs when the center-left coalition is in power and when collective protest at the national-level is less intense and less transgressive.


Social movement scholarship convincingly highlights the importance of sharing the same risks for building solidarity, but it often unintentionally conceals the reality that certain risks cannot be fully shared. Using interviews with activists involved in Combatants for Peace (CFP), a joint Palestinian–Israeli anti-occupation organization, this article illustrates how radically risks can differ for activists in relation to their nationality, as well as make clear the tremendous impact asymmetrical risks can have for movement organizations and their efforts to build solidarity. I argue that for movement organizations and joint partnerships working across fields of asymmetrical risk, solidarity is not about sharing the same risks; rather, it is about trust and mutual recognition of the risk asymmetries. Moreover, that solidarity building across risk asymmetries involves three general measures: a clear commitment to shared goals, a willingness to defend and support one another, and a respect of each other’s boundaries. In the discussion, this argument, which was developed through an in-depth analysis of CFP, is applied to the joint struggle in the Palestinian village of Bil’in to indicate generalizability.

Section II Frames and Discourses in Conflicts and Social Movements


Frame resonance and innovative tactics can substitute for a movement’s lack of important resources to sustain protests. This chapter shows how the insurgent groups in the 2011 Tunisian uprising that lacked mass-based organizations and national leaders maintained and spread the protests using frame resonance and innovative tactics. It argues that the activists’ strategy of frame resonance drew on the collective identity of the poor people in the interior regions, mainly their collective feeling of social marginalization. Activist organizers also relied on a motivational campaign aimed at converting the feelings of injustice held by those in the interior regions into anger against the regime. The innovative tactics of the activists included locating protests inside poor people’s neighborhoods, especially in coastal regions. The engagement of poor people in the protests sustained them in two ways: by spreading and intensifying protests through individual initiatives, and by weakening the Tunisian police in sustained disruptive actions and spontaneous riots. These findings are based on the narratives of 81 activists, insurgent groups’ documents, chanted slogans, and official state documents. The fieldwork research was conducted in Tunisia during the months of April and May 2012, and June 2013.


The rise of Black Lives Matter (BLM), as an intentionally intersectional movement, challenges us to consider the ways in which BLM is reimagining the lines of Black activism and the Black Liberation Movement. BLM may be considered the “next wave” of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), guiding how and with whom the movement will progress. We use a content analysis of public statements and interviews of the founding members from October 2014 to October 2016 to discuss the ways in which the founders of BLM frame the group’s actions. We bring together the critical feminist concept of intersectionality with framing theory to show how the founders of BLM have strategically framed the movement as one that honors past Black Liberation struggles, but transforms traditional framing of those struggles to include all Black lives inclusive of differences based on gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, or criminal status.


This chapter deals with the question of how anti-corruption norms can emerge in authoritarian or semi-authoritarian regimes that actively suppress social dissent and protest. The chapter examines the capacity of Russian opposition movements to create a sustained anti-corruption discourse and to shape political governance. When it comes to addressing corruption through social action in the context of Russia, the situation does not often seem conducive to concerted opposition activity. Nevertheless, even though opposition movements repeatedly fail to impact political decision-making or elite practices, they are not exercises in futility. The chapter concludes that the anti-corruption discourse can be effectively utilized by the Russian opposition movements to unite its efforts and vocalize their demands in terms of democratic governance norms. Continually repressive governmental measures are creating dangerous public spaces, where massive and violent confrontations are increasingly likely to occur. As the opposition continues to find its voice, challenge elite corruption and vocalize its desires for democratic governance norms, the continuing demands for policies to be reflective of public interest (rather than interests of the powerful elites) will not abate. The anti-corruption discourse can play a powerful unifying role for the opposition given the endemic nature of corruption in today’s Russia.

Section III Activist Start-Up and Withdrawal


This study investigates why contributors to online volunteer organizations reduce activity or discontinue volunteering. First, this analysis, based on a survey of over a 100 English Wikipedia’s volunteers with the highest edit count, identifies a gap in the research on volunteers burnout/dropout, namely the importance of interpersonal conflict as an understudied yet highly significant factor. Second, this analysis has practical implications for the sustainability of the Wikipedia project. Third, this analysis should outline an underrepresented issue that if generalizable, may help other volunteer organizations identify a key area related to their volunteer burnout/dropout.


There is a great deal of research examining the factors that lead people to start protesting in their youth, but little work has been done on first-time protesters later in life. In this research we examine these “late bloomers,” those who protest for the first time later in life, to see if and how they differ from those who protest at different periods in life. We use data from the Youth-Parent Socialization Survey, which is a panel study of people in four waves from 1965 to 1997. We find, of the people who protested later in life, half had never protested previously. Additionally, there are significant differences between people who never protested, people who only protested early in life, people who protested repeatedly throughout life, and those who protested for the first time later in life. The latter group is more likely to attend church more, never have been married, and have lower incomes than people who protested early in life and then did not protest again. Late Bloomers are also more likely less educated and to be Independents than Democrats compared to the Repeat Protesters. This research adds to contemporary research examining differential protest participation patterns.


Pages 243-248
click here to view access options
Cover of Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Publication date
Book series
Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN