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.
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.
Over the past twenty-five years the developing world has experienced several waves of popular contention against market reforms and welfare state retrenchment. In the past decade, in Latin America alone, major social movement campaigns erupted in every country in the region over public sector privatization and economic austerity policies (Almeida 2007). For scholars and analysts of popular contention and policy changes, this recent upsurge in social movement activity in lesser-developed countries (LDCs) raises important issues in collecting protest event data given that prior studies on media bias and protest reporting focus on advanced industrialized democracies (McCarthy et al. 1996; Smith et al. 2001; Myers and Caniglia 2004). In order to address this shortcoming, I focus here on one major episode of collective action against neoliberal reform in Latin America – the 2002-2003 campaign against public health care privatization in El Salvador. By comparing the coverage of several media and movement sources we can observe the relative strengths of combining multiple reporting agents in gathering information and constructing data sets on social movement activity and policy reforms in the developing world.
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).
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.