Almeida, Paul, and Allen Cordero Ulate. 2015. “Social Movements Across Latin America”. Pp. 3–10 in Handbook of Social Movements across Latin America, edited by Paul D Almeida and Allen Cordero Ulate. Springer.
Paul Almeida’s comparative study of the largest social movement campaigns that existed between 1980 and 2013 in every Central American country (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama) provides a granular examination of the forces that spark mass mobilizations against state economic policy, whether those factors are electricity rate hikes or water and health care privatization. Many scholars have explained connections between global economic changes and local economic conditions, but most of the research has remained at the macro level. Mobilizing Democracy contributes to our knowledge about the protest groups "on the ground" and what makes some localities successful at mobilizing and others less successful. His work enhances our understanding of what ingredients contribute to effective protest movements as well as how multiple protagonists—labor unions, students, teachers, indigenous groups, nongovernmental organizations, women’s groups, environmental organizations, and oppositional political parties—coalesce to make protest more likely to win major concessions.
Based on extensive field research, archival data of thousands of protest events, and interviews with dozens of Central American activists, Mobilizing Democracy brings the international consequences of privatization, trade liberalization, and welfare-state downsizing in the global South into focus and shows how persistent activism and network building are reactivated in these social movements. Almeida enables our comprehension of global and local politics and policy by answering the question, "If all politics is local, then how do the politics of globalization manifest themselves?" Detailed graphs and maps provide a synthesis of the quantitative and qualitative data in this important study. Written in clear, accessible prose, this book will be invaluable for students and scholars in the fields of political science, social movements, anthropology, Latin American studies, and labor studies.
Almeida, Paul D. 2013. “War and social movements”. Pp. 1391-1394 in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements, vol. 3, edited by D Snow, D Della Porta, B Klandermans, and D McAdam. Chichester, UK: Wiley.
This chapter analyzes the three largest insurgencies with majority Indigenous participation in Mesoamerica in the twentieth century and the ensuing trajectories of native peoples' movements in these uprisings' aftermath. It reviews the 1932 peasant uprising in El Salvador, the Guatemalan insurgency from the 1970s to the 1990s, and the 1994 Chiapas rebellion in southern Mexico and the subsequent movement it generated. The essay examines why Indigenous peoples engaged at times in radical and revolutionary tactics in collective action efforts to defend their rights, while in the contemporary period we observe less violent and confrontational agendas and strategies. Furthermore, the chapter analyzes political opportunities and various forms of threat (including state repression) so as to understand the divergent framing of Indigenous demands and forms of struggle over time and across cases. The state's actions are a crucial dimension in defining what type of strategies these movements are likely to employ.
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.
One of the first longitudinal studies of collective resistance in the developing world, Waves of Protest examines large-scale contentious action in El Salvador during critical eras in the country’s history.
Providing a compelling analysis of the massive waves of protests from the early twentieth century to the present in El Salvador, Paul D. Almeida fully chronicles one of the largest and most successful campaigns against globalization and privatization in the Americas. Drawing on original protest data from newspapers and other archival sources, Almeida makes an impassioned argument that regime liberalization organizes civil society and, conversely, acts of state-sponsored repression radicalize society. He correlates the ebb and flow of protest waves to the changes in regime liberalization and subsequent de-democratization and back to liberalization.
Almeida shows how institutional access and competitive elections create opportunity for civic organizations that become radicalized when authoritarianism increases, resulting at times in violent protest campaigns that escalate to revolutionary levels. In doing so, he brings negative political conditions and threats to the forefront as central forces driving social movement activity and popular contention in the developing world.
Wood, Lesley J, Paul Almeida, and Benita Roth. 2008. Teaching Social Movements. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.