Popular Protest and State Repression in a Global Comparative Perspective
Joint session of the Croatian Sociological Association, Mexican Sociological Association, Morocco Association for Friends of Sociology, Spanish Federation of Sociology, Taiwanese Sociological Association.
In the spirit of sociology’s traditional concern with power, violence and justice, this proposed session examines popular protest and state repression from a global comparative perspective. As capitalist globalization expands and deepens, corporate power increases along with global, national and local inequalities. States often fail to meet their responsibility to provide resources for the disadvantaged and to protect the vulnerable. While many disadvantaged groups have actively mobilized in defense of their political, economic, social and cultural rights, many others have remained passive and apolitical. In non-democracies, autocratic regimes remain stable and resilient, state repression often succeeds in suppressing popular protest and social movements, while violence is being used both as a tool to oppress and to resist oppression. In democratic and non-democratic states, collective protests are either a mode of action for certain disadvantaged groups to fight for their rights, or are class- and region-spanning actions by the general public to demand universal values and pursue justice. These collective actions are closely related to the political power structure and class relations of society; frequently, the state’s response to collective protests is further correlated to factors like protest issues, protest tactics, and the protesters’ social status. Empirical experiences from different parts of the world will show how collective protests and state repression are influenced by the role of state and institutional power relations in different countries.