The Dynamics of Political Protest: Feedback Effects and Interdependence in the Explanation of Protest Participation
Posted: 8 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 2010
This article addresses three largely unsolved problems in theory and research on political protest. The first problem concerns feedback effects. The common assumption is that protest is determined by various factors and does not influence its determinants. We propose and test hypotheses about feedback effects of protest on its determinants. The second issue is the usual assumption that the determinants do not influence each other. We propose and test hypotheses about their interdependence. The third issue which is also rarely addressed in the literature is explaining different effects of individual-level variables (i.e. coefficients) by changes of the political context. Since we test our hypotheses with a four-wave panel survey, conducted in Leipzig between 1990 and 1998, we suggest propositions about differential effects of the variables across waves. We find, among other things, that people having been engaged in protest activities under communist rule in 1989 tend to exhibit a long-term decrease of political discontent. Finally, we find that integration in protest-promoting networks is the most important determinant of protest.
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