The repoliticization thesis of social protests suggests that the level of protest mobilization increases with deeper economic liberalization in democratic settings. While this theoretical perspective has been tested at the country level, it has not been tested at the individual social sector level. Using a unique dataset of social protests in 16 Latin American countries from 1980 to 2000, this paper examines the effect of neoliberal economic reforms on social protests in the context of democracy at different levels of analysis. At the aggregate level, the results provide confirming evidence for the repoliticization thesis. At the social sector level, the results show that labor and peasants, the sectors with stronger organizational structures, are more likely to mobilize protest in a free-market democratic political context. Overall, this paper complements the repoliticization thesis by taking into account the level of organizational strength of societal sectors for explaining protest mobilization.
Quarterly of Latin American Economy and Trade(拉丁美洲經貿季刊), 24, 19-48