Micro-Motives and Collective Action: Measuring Individuals' Reasons for Participate in the #YoSoy132 Movement in Mexico

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 12:00 AM
Room: Booth 69
Oral Presentation
Rodolfo SARSFIELD , Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro/CONACYT, Mexico
Rafael PLANCARTE , Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro, Mexico
Individual´s political mobilization has been explained by rational choice theory according to the general tenets of its approach to human behavior (Becker, 1968; Olson 1971). Following the well-known distinction between the narrow theory and the broad theory of rationality (Elster, 1988), this work presents a more extensive view of political mobilization, considering the individuals´ strategic calculus for their participation in a contentious collective action (Tarrow, 1997). Following the broad theory of rational choice, the work incorporates cognitive, normative and emotive factors to the explanation. So, first we propose that the movement can be treated as a production´s function with two phases, where in each of them there are different mechanisms and games that help to explain the process of collective action. The first phase, which we call accelerative, is triggered by a political opportunity, and it incorporates elements such as coordination between groups, high expectations, and a focal point equilibrium. The second phase, called not-accelerative, arises once the election finishes and it is characterized by a lack of coordination, internal conflicts between groups, and lack of participation. From a set of thirty interviews to active participants in the movement # YoSoy132 Mexico City (14 women and 16 men), the findings show the variety of reasons present in the interviewees, and that some actors may have a predisposition to behave according to a kind of reason (i.e., instrumental vs. normative). The main conclusion we arrive is that the two versions of rational choice allow a better approximation to the individual and collective action in the movement # YoSoy132 in Mexico.