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Why do social organizations decide to protest instead of working through institutional channels? This book draws hypotheses from three standard models of contentious political action - POS, resource mobilization, and identity - and subjects them to a series of qualitative and quantitative tests. The results have implications for social movement theory, studies of protest, and theories of public policy/agenda setting. The characteristics of movement organizations - type of resources, internal leadership competition, and identity - shape their inherent propensity to protest. Party alliance does not constrain protest, even when the party ally wins power. Instead, protest becomes a key part of organizational maintenance, producing constant incentives to protest that do not reflect changing external conditions. Nevertheless, organizations do respond to changes in the political context, governmental cycles in particular. In the first year of a new government, organizations have strong incentives to protest in order to establish their priority in the policy agenda.
Kathleen Bruhn is a leading expert on the Mexican Left. Her first book, Taking on Goliath, analyzes the emergence and early consolidation of the primary Left party in Mexico, the PRD. She is also the author, with Daniel C. Levy, of a textbook on Mexican politics, Mexico: The Struggle for Democratic Development. She has lived for extended periods in both Mexico and Brazil. She has three times won fellowships to write at the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at UCSD and once won a fellowship at the Kellogg Center at the University of Notre Dame, also to write. Her research has been supported by the Stanford Institute for International Studies, the MacArthur Foundation, the UC Council on Research, the UC Faculty Senate, and the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research at UCSB. She is currently an associate professor of political science at UCSB.