Book chapter

Protest Participation

PublisherOxford : Oxford University Press
Publication date2021-10-27
First online date2021-10-27

While consensus on what should be included under the label of political participation is far from having been reached, the latter can broadly be defined as activities by ordinary citizens addressed to the political authorities or the general public and directed toward influencing some political outcomes. The literature then distinguishes between a range of distinct modes of participation. Protest is one of them. Protest participation refers to involvement in different sorts of political activities. The specific kinds of political activities that define this mode of participation may vary to some extent from author to author, from study to study, making the field hard to delimit. Most often, however, this includes attending a street demonstration, taking part in a strike, and other more radical forms such as blockades, occupations, sit-ins, and the like. Protest activities can be studied from two angles or levels of analysis: as aggregate-level collective phenomena or as individual-level expressions of political will. This bibliography focuses on individual protest participation. Moreover, in order to further delimit the field, works are prioritized that refer explicitly to protest participation, therefore overlooking proximate terms and phenomena such as activism or participation in social movements. A number of works have examined protest participation in a broader perspective, as one among several modes of political participation. Others have discussed how protest participation can be studied from a methodological point of view. From a more substantive point of view, scholars are interested in knowing who takes part in protest activities as well as why and how they do so. When it comes to explaining protest participation, we may roughly distinguish between three main perspectives, based on the key explanatory factors examined: Microstructural Accounts focus on social embeddedness as well as the role of preexisting networks and ties to explain involvement in protest activities; Social-Psychological Accounts focus on the role of grievances, identity, and emotions; Predispositional Accounts focus on political attitudes, values, and norms. The present bibliography follows this threefold categorization and is inevitably selective in the choice of references to be included. Often, however, research includes predictors from more than one single perspective. Furthermore, while most existing works focus exclusively on the individual level, scholars have started to examine the role of the broader context for explaining patterns of individual participation in protest activities. Finally, early-21st-century scholars are paying increasing attention to online forms of protest participation, hence complementing the traditional focus on offline forms.

Citation (ISO format)
GIUGNI, Marco, GRASSO, Maria. Protest Participation. In: Oxford Bibliographies in ‘Political Science’. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2021. p. 16. doi: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0345
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Book chapter (Published version)

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