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Tarrow: Democracy and Disorder

Three main ways of dealing with the movement of the 1960s:
1) repulsion by the disorder, aberration from capitalism's progress towards abundance
2) focus on social actors involved in the conflict: focus on individual attitudes (Inglehart 1971,
3) 'new social movements': new paradigm growing out of late capitalist society (Offe 1985).
Overestimated the novelty of the movements, underestimated the symbiosis with old
→ All lack empirical evidence!
Guiding assumption: The movement was significant, because it signalled deeper changes in Western
societies and their repertoires of action.
I. The sixties: A cycle of protest
“What happened in Western Europe and the United States in the 1960s and 1970s was, I shall
argue, but the latest in a sequence of cycles of protest that grow periodically out of the basic
conflicts of capitalist society. Though the content of the cycle was new – as were, to some extent, its
actors and forms of action – it followed a parabola simliar to that of past waves of mobilization.
Conservatives might find it full of dangers, but if it followed the logic of past cycles – from rupture
to institutionalization, from struggle to reform – then it would have a positive effect on the
democracy that it claimed to defend.”
[Schon einige Punkte:
1) Fokus auf die Gesamtheit von Bewegung
2) Bewegungserfolg wird am (liberalen?) Kriterium der Verbesserung der Demokratie
“These observations make clear that it is futile to study movements apart from their political context
or detached from the cycle of protest of which they are a part. For although a particular group's
grievance might stem from its structural position, its political actions and the reactions to them are
conditioned by political factors: by which other groups were protesting at the same time, by the
repressive capacities or facilitative strategies of elites, by the potential allies that are available in the
political system, and, most important, by the general level of mobilization of the population. […]
The movements have to be seen as part of the general cycle of protest in which the arise.” (4)
→ combination of new and old elements, of movement and institution is responsible for success (or
lack thereof).
II. Why study Italy and why analyse protest?
France/Paris is remembered as center of the 1960s protest, but in Italy, the cycle started earlier, was
more prolonged and affected society more profoundly.
“Students of democracy have been obsessed by the apparent lack of stability in Italian politics. But
while the effects of disorder on democracy can be lethal, we should not make the mistake of
concluding that stability is either the most important aspect of democracy or that – as some students
of democratic theory maintain – it is democracy tout court. A democracy in which disorder was
impossible would be no democracy at all.” (6f.)

not when a few people are willing to take extraordinary risks for extreme goals. This focuses our attention not on macrostructural causes. Yet unless we trace the forms of activity people use.. is the outcome of a calculus of risk. In other words. authorities. we cannot understand either the magnitude or the dynamics of change in politics and society. I regard protest. PARTEIENPLATTFORM. common grievances – expanding range of contention to new sectors and institutions.] “A protest cycle occurs. on behalf of the collective goals of the actors or of those they claim to represent. this tends to overestimate the strategic capacity of social movement actors: We can introduce elements of contingency without delegitimizing them.” (8) [The definition focuses on the rationality of protest behavior – against attempts to paint them as merely irrational and chaotic.] – Deliberate violence. …] III. cost. and incentive. as mobilization declines.” (7f) [Dieser Punkt ist für die Arbeit wichtig! Siehe Entwurf] Pattern of conflict cycle: (8) – conventional patterns of conflict within existing organizations and institutions [DAS PASST IM FALLE IRLANDS NUR EINGESCHRÄNKT: WIR SOLLTEN EHER VON DISKURSIV WIRKUNGSLOSEN AKTIONSFORMEN AUSGEHEN] – new actors use expressive and confrontational forms of action [SPRINGENDER PUNKT: DIE BLOCKADEN WERDEN PERFEKT ERFASST] Demonstrating that the system is vulnerable to disruption. or other groups. but on the political conditions in which the cycle begins: on splits among elites.→ The protests left the country with a broadened repertoire of participation and a new political culture: It was beneficial to the country. the second part seems to be outdated. elite splits and new frames are all clearly relevant for the old NSMs. Marginalization. blurred political arena (Ireland/EU). but without the confrontation or the excitement of early risers. but as an extreme form of such expression that. on the growing resources of marginal people. not as a category of action distinct from more institutionalized forms of political expression. but when the costs of collective action are so low and the incentives so great that even individuals or groups that would normally not engage in protest feel encouraged to do so. and their interaction with opponents and elites. how these reflect their demands. However. elites. “Fewer scholars have looked systematically at the forms of political action and at how these have evolved over time. [GROSSDEMONSTRATIONEN. on the diffusion of new frames of meaning within the society” [While the first part is still plausible. like the others. this new cycle of protest might have new incentives (perceived deprivation. . Definition: “I shall define protest as the use of disruptive collective action aimed at institutions. The plan of the study Chapter 1: Schematic summary (likens protest cycles to business cycles) .. de-democratization.

. targets and goals. movement organizers.” (18) “It is the interaction among mass mobilization. II. IV. but rather why so many of them do so at particular times in their history. But this produces a protest cycle only when structural cleavages are both deep and visible and when political opportunities for mass protest are opened up by the political system. Protests aim primarily at disruption.1 POLITICS AND PROTEST CYCLES “What needs to be explained is not why people periodically petition. sustained. strike. Protests involve claims 5. not representative.” (13) I. demonstrate riot. loot. The repertoire of collective action Repertoire of contention : actual variety of collective actions and their development over time (Charles Tilly) Height of protest cycle is the moment.” (18) III. and traditional associations that produces a cycle of protest. Essential Concepts Five main components of the definition of protest: 1. self-conscious challenge to existing authorities” (Tilly 1984: 304) Collective action is a resources that social movement organizers use in place of conventional incentives. Social movement sector “We shall refer to the configuration of individuals and groups willing to engage in disruptive direct action against others to achieve collective goals as the social movement sector.” (13) “In this study. 4. I shall argue that people go out into the streets and protest in response to deeply felt grievances and opportunities. Protesters are strategic in their choice of issues. “Although movements often use protest to gain advantage. Demands are symbolically charged. but as instrumental to the broader interest a movement organization has in establishing itself. not specifically at violence 3. Protests are expressive. when innovation in the tactical repertoire is at its highest. collective actions 2. and if there is a logical sequence to their actions.Tactical innovation and competitive mobilization Competition between SMOs under conditions of changing general levels of mobilization is seen as a major cause for the evolution of forms of action. advantage should not be seen in narrowly economic terms.” (16f) Social movement := “organised. and in distinguishing itself from its enemies and competitors. and burn. The movement sector increases and decreases in size as a cycle unfolds. in maintaining its internal cohesion and external reputation. Protests are direct.

because costs of insurgency have been lowered. protest potential must be translated into action. as protest grows out of conflicts within institutions.) 1. political parties. – Helps to detect vulnerabilities VI. GENERAL OVERVIEW: Part One: Parabolas of Protest: – Sources of Protest – Repertoire of Contention – Actors. Organization. Frames of meaning Snow & Bedford: A major feature of a protest cycle […] is that a few traditional interpretative frames are diffused throughout society and develop beyond their usual frame of meaning.” (21. Conflicts within and among elites Which mechanisms translate political opportunities into action: – resources: sympathetic press. Competition “Before we begin to analyse the institutionalization of social movements.” (21f. This can take organized form. Structure of political opportunity “On its own.” (195) Part Three: Organizers and Movements 9 The extraparliamentary groups: Diffusion. Enemies and the State – Claims and Counterclaims Part Two: Movements and Institutions – Early Risers: The Student Movement – Organizing Spontaneity: The worker's movement – The oldest new movement (religious movements) In this chapter. we must first be aware of the role that organization plays in their formation and diffusion. we shall illustrate this point [even old movements reveal a combination of conventional and innovative forms of action] by turning to the oldest movement of all: religious movements. If a social movement arises spontaneously. it can take spontaneous form. conscience constituents.V. Stability of political alignments (indicated by electoral instability) 3. Extent to which form political institutions are open or closed to participation by groups on the margins of the polity and the presence or absence of repression 2. as existing groups engage in 'consensus mobilization' or incite people to action (Klandermans 1988). also: Klandermans and Tarrow 1988) “In order to lead to social movements. but it is primarily political opportunities that 'translate' protest potential into action. then organizations may indeed be an institutionalizing force as they try to take it . … – encourages unrepresented groups. If we can show that even such an old movement is re-'newed' during a protest cycle in ways that resemble new social movements. structural change only creates the objective potential for movements and cannot overcome the personal inertia nor develop the networks and solidarities necessary to mount group action. we shall have demonstrated the power of a protest cycle to diffuse mobilization to the most traditional sectors of a modern society.

IV. many in the movement sensed an opportunity to organize radicalized workers. But what of movements that are the product of mobilization campaigns led by organizations?” (220) a) Three different ways of organization presence: 1) in the institutional context ('host' organizations) 2) through external groups 3) through the form that action takes. leaving great scope for factions and uncontrolled violence to develop. is a major force in the diffusion of protest.” (225) – diffusion by interest group – diffusion within host institutions (often against said institution's will) – diffusion by movement organizations “most dramatic means” II. mobilization declined.over and channel it. c) competition between social movement organizations: ideological. Groups that wanted to make serious assaults against the unions needed to combine the student movement's enthusiasm with the workers' discipline. for supporters: “The process of competitive tactical innovation by social movement organizations. They were most often diffused by organizers using the experiences and organizational skills they had acquired in the course of earlier campaigns to give force and consistency to protest in others.” (221) I. This realization had a powerful impact on the forms of organization they chose. and those which attempted to do so without organizing for it either disappeared or degenerated into ideological sects. for media coverage. I shall argue. but they did not leap automatically crom sector to sector or from region to region. Organization as process “But the movement organizations could not simply shift from one social group to the other without some cost.” (235) → “The most successful organizations were decentralized and provisional. The extraparliamentary left → Organization was the outcome of crisis and opportunity: The movement's spontaneous tactics were in crisis. while at the same time. b) Organizations are crucial to movement diffusion.” (236) . Diffusion Processes of spontaneous diffusion: – imitation – comparison (learning of victories of similar groups) – transfer of tactics from one sector to another – direct reaction of one group to actions of another adversarial group Purposive diffusion: “The forms of protest that have been described above sometimes arose spontaneously. Diffusion by communication – The bourgeois media – The movement press III.

Conclusion “The extraparliamentary groups never seriously threatened capitalist hegemony or state power. […] As mass protest retreated from the major sectors of Italian society and institutionalization took hold. Without intending it they spurred reform and the institutionalization of conflict. with increasingly provocative forms of collective action. Struggles between people replaced conflict over interests. “But the extraparliamentary groups also had a less positive function for the cycle of protest. Three main axes: 1) Competing with the party system Both with the PCI (which was very much alive) and with the neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano 2) Between movements and the unions 3) Within the radical left VI. and the authorities. Their militants were increasingly engaged not only in attempts to help the poor and oppose the parties and unions. the extraparliamentary groups took their ideological conflicts to the streets. In doing so. but in ferocious ideological and physical conflicts with one another and against symbols of bourgeois hegemony.” (241) the next two chapters trace the development of one specific group from 1966 to 1973. they helped to diffuse a culture of protest throughout Italian society and to keep the unions and the left-wing parties attuned to the grievances of their constituencies. on the one hand.Organization helped in competition with other groups. Their real function for the cycle of protest was to dare to confront both the unions and the party system. factories and 'the city' with its slum-dwellers. on the other.” (240) That goes for both. – From organization to movement – From movement to party .