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).
We compare activist-based internet data with four other media sources—Lexis Nexis Academic Universe, The Seattle Times, Global Newsbank, and The New York Times—on their coverage of the local, national, and international protests that accompanied the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Third Ministerial Conference in Seattle, Washington in late 1999. Using the Media Sensitivity-Protest Intensity Model of event reporting, we find that activist-based web sites report a greater number of transnational protest events at the local, national, and international level. We also find that activist-based websites are less positively influenced by the intensity properties of protest events. In the age of globalization, research on transnational movements should therefore combine conventional media sources and activist-based web sources.
This paper examines the Minamata mercury victims' grassroots movement. Our analysis demonstrates the value of using a political opportunity framework to understand local grassroot environmental movement (LGEM) outcomes. We explain the variation over time in a LGEM's ability to achieve successful outcomes across different political environments. Specifically, we show that the success of the Minamata LGEM hinged on its ability to employ nontraditional and institutionally disruptive tactics during a period of expanded political opportunities.