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Opposition Parties and Anti-Government Protests in Comparative Perspective

Su, Yen-Pin (2014) Opposition Parties and Anti-Government Protests in Comparative Perspective. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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My dissertation adopts an interdisciplinary approach to examine the relationship between political parties and social movements in democratic countries. This work touches on the debates about why protest movements emerge and the literature on the consequences of party politics. It draws on rational choice and political process theories to explain the variation in anti-government protests in the context of democracies. I argue that the mobilization capacity of opposition parties matters for understanding the differing levels of protests. Specifically, focusing on the size and unity of the opposition camp as two unique dimensions of mobilization capacity, I contend that a larger opposition camp should encourage more anti-government protests only if the camp is more united. Moreover, I argue that, because of the differences in socio-economic backgrounds, political development trajectories, and the role of parties as mobilization agents, the effects of opposition mobilization capacity should work differently in developed countries and developing countries.

My research methodology includes work with both quantitative and qualitative data sources. I test my arguments empirically using statistical analyses of an original dataset incorporating protest event data and electoral data in 107 democratic countries. The analyses demonstrate that when opposition parties are strong and united, they are more able to mobilize large-scale collective protest actions. Moreover, I find that a higher level of mobilization capacity of opposition parties matters more to encourage anti-government protests in developing countries than in developed countries. Drawing on the interviews that I conducted during field trips in Peru and Taiwan, the qualitative case studies further illustrate why opposition mobilization capacity matters for the developing countries.

Overall, my research contributes to the literature on political behavior and enriches institutional theories by providing an innovative theoretical perspective and rigorous empirical analyses. More importantly, my research is relevant to more than political scientists and sociologists: the quantitative and qualitative data will help researchers understand the extent to which the dynamics of party/movement interactions vary across different regions, a necessary advance in a literature that has been dominated by single case studies.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMorgenstern, Scottsmorgens@pitt.eduSMORGENS
Committee CoChairPérez-Liñán, Aníbalasp27@pitt.eduASP27
Committee MemberFinkel, Stevenfinkel@pitt.eduFINKEL
Committee MemberMarkoff, Johnjm2@pitt.eduJM2
Date: 30 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 26 March 2014
Approval Date: 30 May 2014
Submission Date: 7 April 2014
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 249
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social Protests, Political Parties, Political Behavior, Democracy, Taiwan, Peru
Date Deposited: 30 May 2014 12:45
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 05:15


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