Making Protest Work: Protest Brokers and the Technology of Mobilization
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CitationLockwood, Sarah. 2019. Making Protest Work: Protest Brokers and the Technology of Mobilization. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractExisting theories of protest struggle to explain why some communities regularly turn to protest to express their frustrations and demand change, while other seemingly similar communities do not. In this dissertation, I argue that closer attention to the technology of mobilization helps to explain these patterns, and identify the important role played by protest brokers – intermediaries who connect elites desiring mobilization with communities of potential protesters. Without these brokers, I argue, many elites lack the local knowledge, connections, and reservoirs of trust necessary to mobilize community members, significantly decreasing the likelihood of protest occurrence, and helping to explain where protests happen. Because protest brokers are not homogenous in type, moreover, I argue further that variation at this level also helps to explain geographic differences in the types of protest we observe, leading to predictable variation in protest frequency, variety, and duration, as well as the likelihood of violence, and the mobilization tactics that are likely to be most effective. I test my argument using two original datasets, along with qualitative data from over 26 months of fieldwork in South Africa. My findings highlight the critical role of brokers in protest, with important theoretical and practical implications for our understanding of collective action.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42013130
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