A growing body of scholarship acknowledges the increasing influence of global forces on social institutions and societies on multiple scales. We focus here on the role of globalization processes in shaping collective action and social movements. Three areas of global change and movements are examined: first, long-term global trends and collective action; second, research on national and local challenges to economic globalization, including backlash movements and the types of economic liberalization measures most associated with inducing oppositional movements; and third, the emergence of contemporary transnational social movements. In each of these arenas we address debates on diffusion, intervening mechanisms, and the outcomes of collective mobilization in response to global pressures.
The disciplinary fields of immigration and social movements have largely developed as two distinct subareas of sociology. Scholars contend that immigrant rights, compared to other movements, have been given less attention in social movement research. Studies of immigrant‐based movements in recent decades have reached a stage whereby we can now assess how immigrant movement scholarship informs the general social movement literature in several areas. In this article, we show the contributions of empirical studies of immigrant movements in four primary arenas: (a) emergence; (b) participation; (c) framing; and (d) outcomes. Contemporary immigrant struggles offer social movement scholarship opportunities to incorporate these campaigns and enhance current theories and concepts as earlier protest waves advanced studies of collective action.
Using an innovative survey of protest participants and nonparticipants from five major street demonstrations in Mexico City in 2011 and 2012, this study tests the assumption that influences on protest participation vary across different types of events; namely, ritual demonstrations and reactive protests. The comparison is based on two assumptions: that these are two of the dominant forms of protest in contemporary Latin America, and that specifying the context for different types of social movement participation provides a better understanding of the individual mobilization process for groups seeking to defend their rights or gain new benefits. The comparative analyses reveal some crucial differences. Political interest and previous political experience are more influential in the decision to take part in reactive demonstrations. For ritual demonstrations, the decision to participate tends to be driven more by personal and organizational connections.
Historical shifts in global economic formations shape the strategies of resistance movements in the global South. Neoliberal forms of economic development over the past thirty years in Central America have weakened traditional actors sponsoring popular mobilization such as labor unions and rural cooperatives. At the same time, the free market reforms produced new threats to economic livelihood and well-being throughout the region. The neoliberal measures that have generated the greatest levels of mass discontent include rising prices, privatization, labor flexibility laws, mining projects, and free trade. This article analyzes the role of emerging anti-neoliberal political parties in alliance with popular movements in Central America. Countries with already existing strong anti-systemic parties in the initial phases of the global turn to neoliberalism in the late twentieth century resulted in more efficacious manifestations of social movement partyism in the twenty-first century resisting free market globalization.
The mass mobilizations against neoliberal reforms are rooted in the weakening of the state-led development model and the erosion of social citizenship rights. At the same time, infrastructures created by the developmental state provide the organizational capacity to resist market-driven globalization. The study develops a conceptual framework for understanding the major arenas of state-led development in the twentieth century in relation to the infrastructures and organizations that mobilize social movement campaigns against neoliberalism in the twenty-first century. Special attention is given to public education, health care, public utilities, state subsidies, and transportation networks as laying the foundation for civil society's ability to collectively defend social protections granted in the preglobalization era in the global South.
Using a unique dataset on the geographic distribution of reported protest events from local sources, the study explains the variation in community-level mobilization in response to neoliberal reforms in two countries in the global periphery. Building on insights from macro, cross-national studies of protests related to market reforms, this article highlights local structural conditions that more likely generate popular contention in poorer countries. Count regression models show that localities with greater levels of state and community infrastructure (highways, administrative offices, universities, NGOs and local chapters of oppositional parties) were associated with heightened collective action opposing the privatization of health care and public utilities. These state and community infrastructures were shaped by national contexts in the era of state-led development preceding the current epoch of accelerated globalization.
Esta investigación se enfoca en las elecciones presidenciales e históricas en El Salvador en 2009. Hay un énfasis dado a la transformación del partido político FMLN en la era después de la guerra civil y la alianza entre el partido y los movimientos sociales en la sociedad civil. La combinación de los procesos de la democratización y las políticas de liberalización económica en los 1990 y 2000 aportó al reforzamiento de la coalición entre el partido de la izquierda y los movimientos populares. Gradualmente el FMLN se podía canalizar la energía de las campañas de los movimientos sociales contra las políticas neoliberales y opinión pública en triunfos electorales al nivel local, parlamentario y Ejecutivo.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, government privatization and austerity programs served as the cornerstone of free market reforms implemented throughout the developing world. The selling off of government utilities, resources, and services laid the groundwork for a highly contested battleground in the global South over social and economic distribution. This study examines the sequencing of campaigns against neoliberal reforms in Central America. Two successful movement campaigns against privatization in El Salvador and Costa Rica followed failed collective attempts to impede similar economic reforms. The policy outcomes against neo-liberal measures are explained by the path-dependent nature of the organizing templates activists chose to employ and the breadth of social movement unionism achieved. The article offers insights into similar battles currently waged in the third world over the pace of economic globalization and the conditions in which oppositional movements are likely to succeed or fail.
Purpose – This study identifies the multiple contributions of the Salvadoran women’s movement in sustaining mass mobilization under the threat of public health care privatization.
Methodology/approach – A case study methodological approach shows how the emergence of an autonomous women’s movement in El Salvador in the late 1980s and early 1990s ‘‘spilled over’’ (Meyer & Whittier,1994) to assist in the maintenance of the health care campaigns in the late1990s and early 2000s.
The paper addresses a core question in the literature on states and political challenges from excluded social classes: how is large-scale collective action possible against repressive governments in the global periphery? Using the case of El Salvador’s 1932 peasant-worker uprising, the paper contributes to theories of organizational expansion and radicalization in nondemocratic settings. The case study suggests that periods of regime liberalization deposit organizations in civil society that persist beyond the political opening in the system. Combining historical materials with logistic and hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), it is found that the political threats constituting liberalization reversals provide negative incentives for surviving reform-minded organizations to attempt revolutionary forms of collective action in more hostile political environments.
In the current wave of defensive collective action across Latin America in response to neoliberal globalization, working-class groups appear most frequently in the documented protest events. The new wave of popular movement activity emerged in the region in the late 1990s and early twenty-first century and is driven by the erosion of the economic and social benefits previously available to the popular classes during the period of stateled development.
Examinamos tres campañas contra la puesta en práctica de las políticas neoliberales de la segunda fase en América Central para determinar mejor los diferentes tipos de situaciones en las cuales los movimientos que desafían las reformas inducidas por la globalización, influyen en el avance y el carácter del proceso de implementación de la política
What accounts for the varying outcomes of popular struggles that contest the character and content of neoliberal reforms throughout the developing world? We examine three campaigns against the implementation of second-phase neoliberal policies in Central America to better assess the kinds of situations in which movements challenging globalization-induced reforms influence the pace and character of the policy implementation process.
The article focuses on varying protest intensities of social movement activists in an authoritarian political environment. Drawing on a sample of participants in El Salvador’s El movimiento popular, the paper examines how structural location in the resistance movement’s multi-sectoral organizational infrastructure shapes the level of participation. Those motivated by state repression and maintaining multiple or cross-sectoral organizational ties exhibited higher levels of protest participation. The findings suggest that more attention be given to how the multi-sectoral network structure of opposition coalitions induces micro-mobilization processes of individual participation in high-risk collective action.
This study examines the role of loosely-coupled state actor-social movement coalitions in creating positive policy outcomes. It specifies the organizational locations within the state most conducive to state actor-social movement ties. Using the case of Japanese anti-pollution politics between 1956 and 1976, we demonstrate that favorable policy outcomes were the result of multiple coalitions between anti-pollution movements and state agencies, opposition political parties, local governments, and the courts.
The article combines two strands of political process theory (opportunity and threat) in a changing authoritarian context. Through the use of protest event, archival, and secondary sources on El Salvador between 1962 and 1981, the study examines the outbreak and forms of two protest waves that are generated by the temporal sequencing of political opportunity and threat environments. The specific opportunities of institutional access and competitive elections motivate regime challengers to form durable civic organizations. This newly available organizational infrastructure can be used to sustain reformist contention in the near term as well as be radicalized to launch more disruptive and violent protest campaigns when opportunities recede and the political environment transitions to one characterized by mounting threats (state‐attributed economic problems, erosion of rights, and state repression).