Revista de Sociologia e Política
On-line version ISSN 1678-9873
RENNO, Lucio R.. Political opportunities structures and engagement in civil society organizations: a comparative study on Latin America. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2003, n.21, pp.71-82. ISSN 1678-9873. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-44782003000200006.
This article tests two different theoretical explanations for civic activism in Latin America, using data at the individual and aggregate levels. Variables that operationalize key concepts from the theory of social capital are included in a multi-variate model that also incorporates empirical indicators for Tarrow's notion of "structures of political opportunities". The first group of variables focuses on the role of such variables as interpersonal confidence and tolerance as they affect the propensity to participate in civil society associations. The second group of variables is centered on the incentives for collective social action created by formal State institutions. Data on Latin America indicate that the institutional framework of a country exercises more decisive influence on citizens' participation in civil society associations than does social capital.
Keywords : associativism; social capital; structures of political opportunity.