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High-risk political participation: demonstrations and riots under dictatorial regimes

This article draws on a broad sample of countries to empirically test the different theories on dissent and protest in the context of authoritarian regimes, where such activities are generally repressed and are therefore risky. The empirical results of the longitudinal comparative analysis basically confirm the predictions of the rational economic approach to political protest as well as the explanatory power of structural factors, the relative deprivation theory, the political diffusion processes (at the regional level), the role of dictatorial institutions, and in part the resource mobilization theory. The empirical analysis also shows that non-violent participation is one of the main determinants of riots and that past protest is important in determining present protest (whatever its type).

political protest; authoritarian regimes; institutions; political participation


Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos (IESP) da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) R. da Matriz, 82, Botafogo, 22260-100 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel. (55 21) 2266-8300, Fax: (55 21) 2266-8345 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: dados@iesp.uerj.br